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F 




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upper row— Kowitt **Toby" Boyd Hockey 

Lower row — Evans McMullen Masters 

These men are all members of the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles who were captured 
in the spring of 1916 and who escaped from German prisons within a month of each other. 

This photo was taken at the request of Col. Gordon, Officer Commanding the regiment 
to which they belonged, and who is now in England, acting as O. C. of the 8th Reserve 
Depot Mounted Rifles. 



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Out of the Jaws 
of Hunland 



The Stories of 
Corporal Fred McMullen 

Sniper 

Private Jack Evans 

Bomber 

CANADIAN SOLDIERS 

Thrme timet capturmd and finally 

escaped from German 

Prison Camps 

G. F. Putnam's Sons 

New York and London 

tShc fmicltevbocftev pte00 

1918 



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1 \ 






Copyright, 1918 

BY 

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS 






Ubc icntelierboclier ipccff, lUw IBorfc 



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i 



CONTENTS 

[APTBK 

Introductory 

Editor's Note 

I. — Strafed and Captured 

II. — How I Got into Difficulties 

III. — From Hospital to Prison Camp 

IV.— Into ''The Black Hole" of Ger- 
many .... 



V. — ^Famine Conditions on German 
Farms .... 



VI. — ^An Attempted Escape 
VII. — Efforts to Escape 
VIII. — The Successful Attempt 
IX. — Blighty at Last 
X. — ^As TO General Conditions 



PAGB 

3 
17 
21 

43 
65 

79 

99 
123 
169 
203 
221 
229 



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MS9R7n 



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ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGS 

Upper f(niH-HowiTT— "Toby" Boyd — 
Hockey — Lower row — Evans — Mc- 
MuLLEN — Masters . Frontispiece 

These men are all members of the 4th Canadian 
Mounted Rifles who were captured in the 
spring of 19 16, and who escaped from German 
prisons within a month of each other. 
This photo was taken at the request of Col. Gor- 
don, OfiGicer Commanding the regiment to 
which they belonged, and who is now in Eng- 
land, acting as O. C. of the 8th Reserve Depot 
Motmted Rifles. 

Private Jack Evans . . . .17 
Photo The Studio^ London. 

Sketch of Part of Zillebeck Line where 

mcmullen was captured . . 52 

Salter — Platts — McMullen . . .70 
A comparison of this photo with that of the six 
C. M. R. men taken in London shortly after 
their escape reveals a rather interesting story. 
This photograph was taken in Friedrichsfeld 
camp when these men were on the point of 
starvation and was "faked up" by German 

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ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGB 

Staff photographers to present a favorable 
appearance and thus create a favorable impres- 
sion outside. The men were specially dressed 
in new borrowed uniforms, and were forcibly 
stood against the background shown. Their 
cheeks and bodies were afterwards built up by 
retouching the n^ative. This was frequently 
done and is a very practical explanation of 
the very encouraging photographs of prisoners 
in the German camps. No photo is allowed to 
go out unless it shows the prisoner in appar- 
ently good health and under pleasing condi- 
tions. 

Plan of Auguste-Victoria Camp and Mine 
Buildings to Illustrate the Several 
Escapes OF Evans AND HIS Pals . 86 

Diagram Showing Route Taken by 

Evans from Prison Camp to Holland 86 

Raesides and Evans .... 90 

Taken at Auguste-Victoria camp in borrowed 
new uniforms and faked up by German staff 
photographers. 

Disinfecting Clothes of Russian Prison- 
ers in German Concentration 

Camps no 

Photo by International Film Service 

Russian Prisoners on Exhibition in a 

German City 116 

Photo by International Film Service 

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ILLUSTRATIONS 



Card from Private Jack Evans to his 

Mother {Address side) . . .196 

Card Written by Evans at Munster Camp 
IN August, 191 7, which was Delivered 
to his Mother at Oshawa, Ont., the 
Following October . . . .198 
Note the appeals for food. 



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Introductory 



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INTRODUCTORY 

"So you're back, boys! And how did 
you like it all?** 

Something like this was the greeting we 
got when we stepped off the train at Toronto 
a few weeks ago. 

Like it? Say! Wonder if they'd have 
asked that if they'd had any idea what we'd 
been through? 

Most of the fellows seem to think it's 
lucky to get wounded enough to send 'em to 
Blighty, Well, if they'd got the Blighty 
wounds all right, but if, instead of being 
carried back nice and comfy in a hospital 
ship and fussed over by pretty V,A.D.'s, 
they'd been yanked in over a German 
trench, handled — ^nice and tenderly, of 
cotirse — ^by German officers and doctors, 
and then, while trying to exist on mangel- 
top soup, and hardly able to crawl around 

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at all, they were forced to go down half a 
mile into a coal mine and use pick and 
shovel for about sixteen hours a day — ^if 
they had had this would they like it? 

Oh yes. We liked it, all right. 

Then somebody asked us, of course, 
whether the people in Germany were starv- 
ing. When we told 'em that the best meal 
we had in seventeen months — ^all the time 
we "visited" in Hunland — ^was a bowl of 
thin pea soup, and that the German civil- 
ians and soldiers, most of *em, were not 
much better off, they seemed to get some 
light on things. 

When we told a few close friends that we 
were nabbed, the third time we tried to get 
away, two hundred yards from the border 
of Holland by German sentries, one of the 
kind friends said, as though we hadn't done- 
our duty, "Why didn't you biff 'em?" 

Say! We'd Uke to have seen that chap 
in the same boat. Let him be mighty near 
starved for the best part of a year — only 
kept alive by the boxes sent in occasion- 
ally by the Red Cross. Then let him go 

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INTRODUCTORY 

for a week — himself and a pal — on half a 
pound of soda bisctiits, travelling about 
fifteen miles a day, or rather night, on his 
weary pins in the meantime. Have him 
suddenly nm up against a handf td of Huns 
with bayonets shining up in his face out of 
the dark and not a bit leery about shooting 
either. Put him up against that and wotdd 
he say, "Why didn't you biflf 'em?'' 

One of the funny things about it is that 
we enlisted about the same time, in the 
same battalion, went through about the 
same training, were captured on the same 
day within a quarter of a mile of the same 
spot in the same line, were examined in the 
same railway station, one of us in a room 
above, the other below, at about the same 
time; were at different times in the same 
prison camps, even occupied the same cell 
when they brought either one of us back, 
after trying to make a getaway of it; got 
away, the last time, within a few days of 
each other and, though starting in different 
German provinces, hit the Holland border 
and got over the line at nearly the same 

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INTRODUCTORY 

spot. All this happened, and yet, till we 
met one another incidentally in old Graves- 
end in England, neither of us had any idea 
the other was anywhere but scrapping it 
out back in the trenches with the rest of 
the C.M.R. boys. Since then, somehow or 
other, we Ve been mighty good pals. 

One night, a little while after we got home, 
when we were sitting arotmd with the boys, 
we got to talking about the thing and told 
'em that bit about lying for a day and a 
night, only half-hidden in the sand under 
the creek bank near Weseke, while two 
women hoed ttimips all day in the field 
across from us, and two German soldiers 
crossed the creek not ten feet away. 

They said it was considerable of a story. 
Perhaps it is. The War Office seemed to 
think we had something interesting to tell 
when we got finally back to old Blighty, 
anyway. 

So here it is. 

Why we got into it in the first place? 
Well we were fit and, while we had fairly 

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INTRODUCTORY 

good jobs, hadn't anybody depending on 
us. Nothing much else to do but to get 
into it, was there? That's how we felt 
about it, anyway. 

So when the call for King and Country, 
coupled with the stories we heard as to the 
way the Huns were treating the Belgians, 
got under our skins we enlisted at Toronto, 
one of us in November, 1914, the other in 
May, '15, and somehow both of us got stuck 
up to the 4th C.M.R. After a few months 
in Toronto and at Valcartier, they shipped 
us over to England, and before we had been 
there long enough to get used to the fog we 
were ferried across the Channel and mighty 
soon after got into the thick of it. There 
was none of this getting acclimated behind 
the line the boys get now, just then. Why, 
the very first night — or perhaps it was the 
second, so much other stuflf has happened 
since it's hard to remember — ^we were sent 
up about three miles in communication 
trenches to put in twenty-four hours of 
"instruction." Instruction it certainly 
was. We remember one Irishman, when 

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INTRODUCTORY 

we climbed up on the firing step, after slip- 
ping off and sliding up to our necks in nice 
"gooey" mud half a dozen times, telling us 
that it wasn*t a bit dangerous. P'raps it 
wasn't. We got used to it, of course, after 
a while, but we can remember yet how those 
Boche bullets went pinging and winging 
over our heads. No, p'raps it wasn't dan- 
gerous, but the next afternoon two or three 
chaps out of our battalion were killed in a 
nasty bombardment. 

After our twenty-four-hour go there they 
took us back to "Stink Farm." Ask any 
of the fellows who've been over what that 
means. We'd rather not tell you ourselves. 
The memories are rather painful. 

For a while the battalion was employed 
in different work arotmd Messines — pioneer 
work, digging commtmication trenches, 
holding the line for a while at times, and in 
other duty. That duty in the line was quite 
a job just then, too. You see, the C.M.R.'s 
were supposed to be moimted troops and 
the battalion muster was six htmdred men 
as against the rotmd thousand in an in- 

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INTRODUCTORY 

fantry battalion. So when they shot us 
up in that blooming front line to relieve the 
" legs only'* boys, we had to spread ourselves 
around some, and it kept us busy. Seems 
as though the authorities after a while ap- 
preciated this and some other little diffictil- 
ties, for, some time in February — ^that 
was in nineteen sixteen — ^they moved the 
bimch back to Metron, a little village 
six or seven miles behind the line. Here 
we were joined by the ist, 2d, and 5th 
C.M.R.'s and were treated to — ^what do 
you suppose? A month's infantry drill. 
Scarcely a man of us knew how to form 
fours. We made out we didn't, an3rway. 
You know the cavalry drill is a good deal 
different. And here we had been, doing the 
infantry's work but knowing nothing of the 
best part of the trade. Nice box of tricks, 
wasn't it? But we guess they needed the 
men just then. Looked like it when we 
were in the line, anyhow. So we just made 
the best of it. 

Should have heard our officers, though. 
Not a one of them, from subalterns up, 

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INTRODUCTORY 

wotdd admit to knowing the "steps" at all. 
And there was some gnimbling all round. 
They fixed that up by bringing down some 
of the Princess Pat's officers and sergeants 
who worked with us till we could get through 
things pretty decently. Then they made 
up our short nimibers with a draft from the 
8th C.M.R. and the 35th Battalion. 

From Metron, we went up on a fifteen- 
mile march to G camp in the Ypres salient. 
And say, since we've come back we hear all 
the folks calling that doggoned spot "Wip- 
ers." Seems queer to us. Nobody called 
it that while we were there. We went in 
the line there into the "International" 
Trench near St. Eloi, relieving the Queens 
West Surreys and a btmch from Sussex. 
They called it "Yeeps." Behind the line 
we met some Belgians who called it "Yipes," 
but never a "Wipers" did we hear. 

That was a nice comfortable spot just 
then. Uh-huh! They called it "Interna- 
tional" because it changed hands so often. 
The British tried hard to hold it steady, but 
the Boches were rotmd on three sides of it. 

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INTRODUCTORY 

We used to think they were in the back tcx), 
the way the shells came in. But you see 
the line ran arotind something like the shore 
of Htimber Bay, only inverted, and they 
could pump in enfilade fire all over. They 
used to blast the trench up and come over 
one day, but the next the Tommies wotdd 
go up and take it and dig in again. You 
can judge how comfortable it was in there 
when you know that just then there was an 
average of six hundred casualties a week — 
not in raids or artillery strafes but just in 
holding up the line. 

We were in there for eight days — ^f our in 
the front line and four in support — ^and 
then went back to B camp, near Poperinghe, 
for a week's rest. After that we spent some 
time in different parts of the line in the 
same neighborhood, a good deal of it arotmd 
the''Gapof Hooge." 

Haven't heard of it? Well, that gap was 
a swampy spot in the line where it was out 
of the question to keep a regular trench 
open. So shallow pits were cleaned out as 
well as possible about fifty yards apart and 

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INTRODUCTORY 

a couple of men sent out to each. These, 
with machine-gun fire, kept the Germans 
back. It was dirty work out there, though. 
We used to man the pits half way across, 
and the Scots Guards, who were on the 
left, just then, filled up the other half. 

At one spot just here was a short bit of 
trench rtmning out like a sap from the front 
line to within thirteen yards of the Boches, 
Somebody, probably because it was a some- 
what tmnecessary evil, had named it "The 
Appendix." That used to be a tidy spot 
for the bombers. Nice spot to spend a 
night in, out there, with stuff going on all 
round you, when times were busy, and no 
idea when a lot of Germans wotild potmd 
over on top of you. That was one reason 
men were stationed out there. A couple of 
bombers can do a nice lot of damage to a 
raiding party and pretty well bust it up 
before it gets anywhere near your own 
trenches. 

We had some good tossers there, too. 
Stanley Park and '* Whitey" Masters (whom 
we'll tell you more about later), had whiffed 

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INTRODUCTORY 

baseballs around a gocxi deal with some of 
the Toronto ball teams and they surely 
made good at this game. Park cotdd handle 
a Mills bomb to about thirty-five yards 
and, believe us, that's some throw. 

Just to the right of the "Gap" the Ger- 
mans had a nasty little sniping post which 
accotmted for a good many of our fellows. 
When you know that this was nicknamed 
"The Birdcage," you can perhaps get some 
idea of it. It was really nothing but a bit 
of protection built up of sand bags, con- 
crete, and boiler plate which from a little 
way behind the line looked like a big hor- 
nets' nest upside-down. Two snipers used 
to stay in there all the time and from be- 
hind a slit in the boiler plate wotdd pink 
away at our fellows whenever a bit of htmian- 
ity showed. We tried all kinds of sttmts 
to break it up without affecting it much. 
Perhaps it will give you some idea of how 
good otir artillery shooting was at the time 
when we tell you that we've seen eighteen- 
pounder shells, one after another, botmce 
off the sides of that "Birdcage." After 

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INTRODUCTORY 

we left that spot, so we were told, the 
troops were moved back for a while so the 
"Heavies'* cotdd get in some work and they 
soon put it out of business. 

We were in this section off and on for 
three months. Once we were quartered in 
reserve near Zillebeck Lake, about three 
miles behind the lines. We remember that 
well because there we got a great feed of 
fish. Some wise guy hit on the idea of 
taking the detonator out of a bomb and 
tossing it in the lake which was full of pike 
and perch. Of course it didn't do a thing 
to those in the immediate locality. Easier 
than spearing suckers, that. After a while 
though, that was stopped and for a funny 
reason. It seems that the signallers had 
laid their wires through this lake to save 
digging and to protect them from shell fire. 
They began to wonder at headquarters 
what was happening to these lines. You see 
when the detonators Ut anywhere near the 
wire they were "rather hard on the insula- 
tion," as somebody said. So the boys had 
to get their fish some other way. 

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INTRODUCTORY 

We cotdd give you a lot of dope on things 
like this. Cotild tell how muddy the 
trenches were, how they blew in our dug- 
outs — ^when we had any — ^how we had to 
dig those telephone cables in along the line, 
and a whole grist of such stuff, but tjiat sort 
of thing has been told a dozen times already. 
We beKeve you'll be more interested in 
what happened a little later, when all the 
trouble came. And since from this time 
on our stories run considerably different, it 
will probably be better for each of us to 
tell his own. 



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Photo, The Studio, London, 

Private Jack Evans. 



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)R'S NOTE 

hotographs opposite should 
r juncture as giving some 
intents of the men whose 
ow. 

om in England — in i8g2^ 
came to Canada siocteen 
h extraction and shows it. 
e highly-strungf always- 
f to tackle anything which 
th a good deal of the some- 
sh pugnaciousness mixed 
r, naturally f attracted him 

section and in addition 
ombing and had his share 
the trouble came^ 
he light in Toronto three 
jed titer e till bigger things 
job called him to France. 

Irish descent he is more 

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EDITOR'S NOTE 

oja matter-of-fact and steadier type. A few 
years ago he used to pot ducks down on Fish- 
erman^ s Island and this, probably, helped him 
to show up so well in his shooting at Hyeth 
that he was made coach in the sniping course 
for a while and was given his stripes. Natu- 
rally, when he got into the middle of things 
over in France he wanted to continue the 
potting with bigger game in prospect and so 
was counted in with the battalion's snipers. 



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Out of the Jaws of Hunland 



I19I 



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CHAPTER I 

STRAFED AND CAPTURED 

Jack Evans begins: 

It had been pretty qxiiet on that section 
of the line for qxiite a while, but that day, 
the second of June, our friends across No 
Man's Land certainl}'' started something. 
We went in the day before, relieving the 
58th Battalion, and even then things were 
beginning to get a bit unpleasant. The 
Gennan gunners had been getting a line 
on the trench with mortars in preparation 
for the attack which came later, and I can 
remember one of the sSth's M.G, crew 
coming out said: ''Thank God we're get- 
ting out of here for five days. I'm about 
fed up." It was fairly quiet that night, 
too. We had a working party out on a sap 
in front for a while and I was kept busy 

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OUT OF HUNLAND 

covering these with the gun. About four 
in the morning, just after Stand-to, I rolled 
in, but "Wedgy" (Lce.-corp. Wedgewood), 
my mate on the gim, decided to stay up 
and clean it. About eight-thirty I got 
hoisted up a bit when a shell from a trench 
mortar lit square in the dugout. Nice 
way to get wakened up, that. No inter- 
mittent alarm-clock needed. When I came 
to, I found that another chap and I had 
been lucky. We got oflf with only that 
blow-up, while three of our pals in the same 
hole were killed. The same shell buried 
Wedge and the gim. We dug Wedge up 
and started to clean up a bit. We carried 
on for a few minutes and then another trench 
mortar came in just round the parapet and 
lit into the middle of our machine-gim am- 
munition. We had about twenty thousand 
rounds stored there and that shell accotmted 
for all but about three hundred. A few 
minutes later another shell — a Minnie, I 
think it was — skilled another pal in a dug- 
out just beside us. They were putting a 
strong line of fire on the front line, on our 

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STRAFED AND CAPTURED 

wire, and just behind the trench to keep 
any supports from getting up. 

This sort of thing kept on pretty steady 
all round us. About nine-thirty Wedge 
and I decided to try to get down the trench 
about three hundred yards to Ntunber 
Three gun, hoping to get some ammuni- 
tion. We started down, carrying the gun, 
of course — ^that's one of the cardinal niles, 
never to leave your gun alone — ^and found 
trouble all the way down. Two or three 
times we stopped to give a hand to fellows 
who were buried, and every few yards we 
found a chunk of the parapet blown in, 
leaving huge gaps. How we ever got across 
these I don't know for they were being 
raked with machine-gun fire all the time. 
I remember, though, we used to back up and 
take a run at it and usually we felt a whiff 
of M. G. bullets either in front or behind us. 

Yes, they surely gave it to us that morn- 
ing. It seemed as if all hell was let loose. 
** Minnies" were dropping around us every 
minute and sandbags were flying around 
like dirt at a digging bee. To add another 

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OUT OF HUNLAND 

pleasant touch to it all, the German planes 
were scooting along low, parallel with the 
trenches, dropping bombs by the basketful. 
We'd never thought a plane could drop 
anything to come within a mile of a mark 
before that, but they did that day — dropped 
'em in apparently wherever they liked. 
Of course by this time there was nothing 
much against them. 

They've told us since that this was the 
worst bombardment on the Ypres salient 
up to that time. I haven't any doubt it 
was, and I've got a good strong suspicion 
there hasn't been anything as bad, or at 
any rate any worse, since. The whole 
German artillery of the sector was turned 
loose on a section of line from Hooge to 
Trench 47, only about a mile and a quarter 
long. They say since that big shells were 
landing about every six feet. To us it 
seemed that they were coming down one 
about every foot and two or three in a 
bunch at that. You see they came in from 
all directions except immediately behind us 
because the sector poked up into their line. 

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STRAFED AND CAPTURED 

All this was going on with absolutely no 
artillery retaliation. Why, we don't know, 
unless the commtinications were cut. That 
was the day, by the way. General Mercer 
was killed. He was as bad off, I guess, 
as any of us. One of the chaps I knew, 
Gregory, a signaller, told me of 'phoning 
back a message at the General's orders to 
General Headquarters to ''send everything 
you've got." The answer came that every- 
thing would open up. But it didn't come. 
General Mercer was wounded by shrapnel 
and then tried to get back to Headquarters 
through what little was left of a commtmica- 
tion trench. Another chimk of shrapnel 
got him there. Brig.-General Williams was 
with General Mercer at the time and was 
captured in a sap where he went for first 
aid after being wounded. 

When we finally got down to Number 
Three's position after a good deal of trouble, 
we found absolutely no trace of the gim. 
She was blown to — ^well, figure it out for 
yourself. Three of the crew were gone, too. 
The other three went the same way a little 

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OUT OF HUNLAND 

while after. We thought we'd try to get 
down fiirther to Number Two. We knew, 
you see, that all this dirty work meant a 
big attack and wanted to get some ammuni- 
tion if there was any chance at all. We 
soon foimd, though, that we might about 
as well try to get down in the open. For 
yards the trench was like a pancake and 
the M.G. men were having a high time 
covering those spots. So we went back 
a piece — ^you could hardly tell whether 
you'd been past before because things were 
so blasted arotmd — ^till we hit a bit of tra- 
verse nmning toward the Germans which 
somehow or other had been left intact. 
In this hole, about thirty-five feet long, were 
Corporal Day and a sergeant of ''A" Com- 
pany. We got down in there and stuck it 
out till after one o'clock. I spent most of 
the time — ^there was nothing else to do — 
spotting for ''Minnies." How the shells 
potmded that bit of trench around you can 
guess when I tell you that we carried on 
there for over an hour, buried up to our 
waists in saad and rubbish which was 

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blown in from all around us. During that 
time all of us got hit once or twice. Wedge 
got a nasty little scrape with a chtmk of 
shell right across the collar bone. I got 
mine, shrapnel, too, in the foot, the knee, 
and the back. Another chtmk hit me square 
on the steel helmet and dinted it in. There's 
the scar from it, see. But forttmately, 
none of these was very bad. 

About one-thirty we saw three star shells 
go up from the German lines across from us. 

''There's the signal for attack," Wedge 
said. So we hauled ourselves as well as we 
could out of the rubbish, climbed up to the 
parapet — ^what little there was left of it — 
and squinted over. There was Fritzy ''com- 
ing over" in extended order about seventy- 
five yards away. 

By this time we were rather busted up, 
as you can imagine, what with the shrapnel 
and the fact that we hadn't had a bite of 
anything, food nor water, that day. I 
don't think I was ever so thirsty in my life. 
I'm not saying anything about being hungry, 
mind. I fotmd out later something about 

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what that meant. However, we managed 
to get the gun^ into action and, I'm thankful 
to say, got a few of them. You will know, 
though, about how long — or I'd better say 
how short — ^that three hundred rounds 
lasted. Say, but that was disappointing. 
I'd never had so good a chance to mow 
them down before and we could keep that 
gim going only a few seconds. That alone 
was enough to break your heart. 

Of course we'd been busy looking after 
that gim and had absolutely nothing else 
with us to put up a scrap with. By this 
time it was every man for himself. There 
were no orders of any kind — ^no officers left, 
and most of the N.C.O.'s out of business, 
too. So we thought it was about time to 
get out and get back if possible. We got 
back over the parados as well as we could, 
and ran plump into four Fritzies with fixed 
bayonets. We did not know it, of course, 
but they had been all around us for some 
time. That will give you some idea of the 
shape things were in around there just 
about then. 

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There was nothing to do but to flop back 
into the trench which we did as qxiick as we 
could. They fired but missed. We knew 
they'd follow us up though, so climbed over 
a bank of rubbish and ran into four more 
Germans coming down the trench. 

What did I think of? I don't know. 
Somehow or other it never hit me that I was 
a prisoner till I was over in their trench a 
little later. I was so wild with anger over 
our helplessness I didn't know what to do. 
I do remember that there was none of this 
"Shove up your hands" business you read 
about. They simply jabbed us in the most 
convenient portions with their big bayonets 
and forced us over the parapet. About 
this time our artillery at last started up a 
little. When the first shells came over, the 
Boches who had us flopped. We didn't. 
Those British shells were too dam good to 
see. 

When we got down into the German 
trench they marched us along to a dressing 
station two or three hundred yards up. On 
the way one big Prussian took a kick at me. 

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When I stopped ahd looked at him he kicked 
again. This time I caught his foot. He 
came at me with his bayonet and I guess 
I wouldn't be telling you this, if an ofl&cer 
who seemed a decent sort, or thought they 
could get some information out of me, had 
not stopped him. I didn't care much, at 
that. I was too mad. 

When we got a chance we fixed one an- 
other up as well as we could. Wedge's 
wotmd was bothering him a good deal and 
we tried to clean it up. For a little while 
the Germans didn't seem to pay much at- 
tention to us. Then an officer who could 
speak English came up and asked us how 
long we thought the war was going to last. 
When we told him we didn't know, he 
asked us if they had us beaten. Of course 
we said, No, but we told him we thought 
they had given us pretty rough handling 
that morning. 

A little later we were ordered back to a 
church just behind the lines where a party 
of Canadian prisoners was made up. There 
were about fifty of us altogether — Princess 

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Pats, 1st, 4th, and 5th C.M.R/s, two or 
three artillery observers, and a few trench 
mortar men. Prom there we were forced 
to go on again and, as we found out later, 
were billed for a march to Menin, between 
fifteen and eighteen miles. 

Talk about forced marches. I had 
thought it was pretty bad getting up those 
muddy old conmiunication trenches with 
part of the gun, and so it was, but. Great 
Caesar ! Never believe anybody again when 
they tell you that was hard. Think of it. 
Most of us were more or less cut up, but 
that didn't seem to make any difference. 
My foot had begim to bother me a good 
deal by this time, too, but there was nothing 
for it but to pike along. Some of the other 
fellows were a good deal worse off than either 
Wedge or I, but they had to pound along 
just the same. We were under an escort 
of mounted Uhlans armed with long lances 
and ahead of us rode military police on bi- 
cycles. They knew where they had to get 
that night and they kept us moving. We 
asked for water, thinking we would at least 

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be given that, but there was nothing doing. 
Not a drop did we get till we got into Menin 
at about ten o'clock. 

We did get some sympathy, too. I forgot. 
Several places along the road Belgian civil- 
ians tried to show us how sorry they were 
for tis by giving us food. It was no use. 
The moment the Uhlans saw what was going 
on, they would ride up and bash them over 
the head with their lances. One girl, about 
eighteen years old, who seemed a little more 
daring than the others, was hit this way and 
knocked flat in the road. It^ seemed to be 
a settled policy to maltreat these poor 
people at every turn. Often the beggars 
on the bicycles would get off, when they 
met people on the road, kick the men and 
women and cuflf the children. This was 
done absolutely without provocation, too. 
The Belgians took it the only way they 
could and so far as we could see didn't show 
any resentment. Wouldn't have done them 
any good if they had. The Germans seemed 
to have done this sort of thing so much 
that they had them cowed, all the life and 

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hope beaten out of them. Of cottrse all 
this got tmder our skins pretty deep, but 
what could we do? 

When we got to Menin, a Belgian town 
of about fifteen thousand, we could see 
traces of the German bombardment of the 
earlier days. We were put in a horse stable 
and given our first meal — ^memorable for 
several things. It was the first meal tmder 
the auspices of our Htm hosts. It gave us 
our first introduction to German war coffee, 
and also gave us a chance to make the ac- 
quaintance of German war bread. 

The coffee was black and hot. Whether 
it was made of chestnuts, burnt grain, or 
stove polish we didn't know — ^and didn't 
much care so long as it was the liquid our 
bodies had been oying out for all day. 

The bread. Say, when I hear anybody 
here at home talking about "War Bread" 
I feel like yelling. What we got was a htmk, 
mighty small at that, about what would 
make up a fair half-slice of one of our baker's 
loaves, of a doughy, sour, black concoction 
which looked as if it had a sawdust crust. 

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As a matter of fact it had, as we verified 
later. The inside mass seemed to be made 
from turnips. We couldn't begin to eat 
the stuff then. We learned to, later — ^when 
we had to, or die. 

Yes, you can put right down as gospel 
those stories you heard and didn't believe, 
of bread made from sawdust being fed to 
the Belgian kiddies. It may not have been 
all sawdust but the wood was there, just 
the same. We've had the same stuff, time 
and time again. Sometimes the principal 
ingredient seemed to be groimd straw. 
Sometimes it was potatoes. They didn't 
toss away the hides either. Often we've seen 
pieces of potato skin sticking out of our 
allowance of bread. 

That was in June, 1916, remember, and 
that was the chief ration of the Belgian 
civilians and the allied prisonersv at that 
time and until we left Germany last De- 
cember. The German civilians got about 
the same stuff, sometimes a little better. 
Sometimes neither we nor the civilians got 
even this bread. But more of this later. 

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When I think about it I'm stirprised that 
we all seemed to sleep so well that night. 
Of course we were beastly tired and had no 
idea of what was coming. Not a single one 
of the fellows I was with then or talked with 
later had ever dreamed of being captured, 
so we didn't worry over what was ahead 
of us. 

Next morning we were poked out good 
and early, so stiff that it was agony to move 
at all, were formed up into fours and paraded 
before an officer who spoke English splen- 
didly. I can remember almost every word 
of the command which came: 

"You are now under German martial 
law and if you do not give up any papers or 
any other information in your possession 
you will be shot." 

I had in my pockets two letters, and a 
book on machine gxmnery which I had been 
working away at in odd moments, and 
Wedge had another copy of the same book. 
We didn't want them to get those books, so, 
being near the end of the line and standing 
beside a drain, we got them out mighty 

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caref tdly and kept tearing them up in our 
hands. Before they came along to search 
us we were able to reach down and get those 
bits of paper down the drain. They took 
my two letters though. 

Breakfast! Say you fellows who have 
your two eggs after grapefruit and cereal 
and probably end up on muflBins and mar- 
malade, thinking you're doing wonders to 
forego the old-time slice of bacon! You 
don't know you're living. Our breakfast 
that morning was the same as ''dinner" 
the night before — stove-polish coffee we 
cotddn't drink and war bread we couldn't 
eat. Any of you fat fellows don't need to 
take long distance nmning or a course of 
"bawths" to get back so you can wear one 
of those dinky morning coats. Just take 
a couple of months of our experience. You'll 
need to take a foot or two out of your waist- 
band at the end of it. It's true what they 
say, all right. We didn't see a single fat 
man, even moderately fat, in Germany. 

About noon they marched the lot of us 
down to the railway station, a btisy place, 

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for this seemed to be the headquarters for 
the district. I remember that well, for 
there I got a real meal — ^the best one I had 
in all my seventeen months in Germany. 

What was it? How many courses? A 
gammel (wash basin) of thin pea soup. 
That was all. But it was mighty good. 

After we stood around for a while here 
in a sort of freight-sorting room, in came 
about twenty German officers. We won- 
dered what was up when they approached 
us smiling and very politely, but soon f oimd 
out what was in the wind. One of them 
asked me in excellent English how many 
troops were stationed on the Ypres front, 
how many guns there were in the sector, and 
similar things. I didn't know just what to 
say, not knowing what might happen, but 
finally I hit on playing up ignorant. ''I'm 
only a common soldier," I said. "It isn't 
for me to know these things." 

They seemed to judge us from the stand- 
point of their own privates and took all 
this apparently as gospel. 

Another officer who was questioning 

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Billy' Raeside, a Woodbridge boy, still in 
Germany, though he got away with me for 
a while on one of the "attempts," asked 
him the same questions. When the first 
one, about the troops on the Ypres front, 
was put to him, Billy scratched his head 
for a minute and said: "Don't know ex- 
actly, sir. But about four million, I think." 

The officer came back at him a little stiffly. 

"Vat vould you take me for?" he said. 
" Do you t'ink I'm a f ool? " Then he took 
a kick at Billy and walked away. 

The last man they questioned was Wish- 
back, one of our bombers, who had some 
German blood in him. The officer looked 
him over and then said: "Kaimst du 
Deutsch sprechen ? " 

Before "Wish" thought about it, I guess, 
for he could jabber away in the stuff easy, 
he said: "No." The officer turned with a 
grin and shot at him: "Then how do you 
know what I said?" He didn't get any 
satisfaction out of him, though, and after 
a few minutes said : ' ' Ach, was ! ' ' and turned 
away. 

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It's a wonder they didn't do something 
to us right there, though. One or two of 
the boys began to get a Kttle heady, think- 
ing they'd put it over them and started to 
be smart to them. I guess they concluded 
there was no use bothering us any further 
and so left us alone. 

One of the officers — ^perhaps he was try- 
ing to be ingratiating — spoke mighty con- 
fidentially to a couple of us, saying that if 
their own prisoners could be depended on 
to hold their tongues as well as we did they 
wotdd have less trouble. 

About five o'clock we were herded out 
again, marched to the freight yards, and 
loaded on cattle trucks. These were what 
they had moved their own troops in, or had 
used for the transfer of Belgian civilians. 
There were some rough seats but not enough 
to accommodate the forty men allotted to 
each car. When the train was about to pull 
out somebody started to sing that glorious 
classic, "It's a long way to old Tip." Say. 
It was fuimy to see the sentries rushing 
arotmd, shoving their bayonets in through 

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the bars as if we were a lot of cattle. Meant 
some tall dodging for us, too. But as soon 
as they'd quiet down one car and go on to 
the next all the trouble would start over 
again. 

Prom five that afternoon till two the next 
was spent in that car. Nothing to eat. No 
water. Do you wonder I remember that 
meal of pea soup ? The coimtry ? We were 
too sick and sore to look at it. Besides it 
was Germany. We didn't want to see it. Of 
course that train travelled like an express. 
Nixy. We were freight, and travelled about 
as fast as some of the coal coming out of 
Buffalo this winter. Oh, what a night! 

However, we existed. There wasn't much 
else to it. And about two they xmloaded 
us — cattle, you see — on a railway station 
platform to be "fed and watered." Intro- 
ductions were frequent these days. Just 
there we met up for the first time with an- 
other concoction which later we f oimd was 
in plain English dubbed "sandstorm." It 
was really a sort of thin porridge made from 
commeal with a few rotten figs for flavor- 

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ing — ^and the sand. Somehow or other the 
sand always formed a large portion of the 
ingredients of this dainty. We flirted with it 
often. Sometimes were mighty glad to do so. 
Personally I suspect the food contractor of 
a nice little bit of graft. Sand in rotten figs 
or commeal bulks 'em up nicely, you know. 
Perhaps the joke was just on us. 

After this great feed we were prodded 
into the cars again and travelled for another 
night — or till about 4 a.m. I slept that 
night, not so badly either, standing up. We 
had to let the worse-wounded fellows lie 
down a little while. 

In the morning about dawn we were un- 
loaded—not sorry, either— formed in fours, 
and marched about six miles to Dulman^ 
prison camp. 

This march, of course, was in Germany 
in the province of Westphalia, and while 
we were not so badly treated as some of 
the fellows we met later, there was no love 
going to waste in the eyes of the civilians 
we met along the road. They sneered, of 
course — ^and the German is some sneerer, 

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let me tell you — ^and called us Englische 
Schweinehunde^ and a few other similar 
things. But they didn't cut much figiu^e 
with us. By that time we were wondering 
what sort of thing Mr. Fritz had in for us. 
We got the first glimpse of the camp from 
about half a mile away. It stood on a knoll, 
and when we saw the sentries passing 
along outside the rows of wire, it hit me 
that there was mighty little chance of get- 
ting out of a spot like that. 

Dulman camp was really a quarantine sta- 
tion where the prisoners were held for two or 
three weeks, to catch any case of disease, 
before being sent on to other working camps. 

When we got into the camp we were 
greeted by a chorus of yells from other 
British prisoners who were there before us. 
Then we were put into tents in the enclosure. 
Another historic incident occurred here. 
We were given our first bowl of Steckrube or 
turnip soup. Since this delicacy became a 
sort of staple afterward, we were destined to 
get well acquainted with it before we left 
Central Europe. 

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CHAPTER II 

HOW I GOT INTO DIFFICULTIES 

Corporal McMullen speaks: 

My turn to go in that notable week came 
along on May 29th, and about twelve p.m. 
we snipers started for 147 Trench to relieve. 
We found the communication trenches full 
of men coming back, making it out of the 
question to get through, so had to work up 
to Trench 56 and from there down through 
the front line to 147. I had a message for 
Colonel Dennison who I expected to find in 
the Headquarters of the 4th C.M.R., but 
when I got there he wasn't to be found. So 
I jimiped over the parados and struck back 
to the snipers' dugout. There was some 
little strafing that day but nothing unusual, 
and things stayed about like that till the 
morning of June 2d. 

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I had been up on duty all night — ^that's 
when we did most of our shooting — ^and 
about seven o'clock in the morning went 
back to the dugout, made a cup of tea, and 
went to '*kip" (sleep). I suppose I had 
slept about half an hour when a big trench 
mortar Ut beside a road running just past 
our post and about twenty yards away. 
That shook the ground like a leaf. They 
began to come over all aroimd us then so 
I thought it better to get out and go up to 
the front line. On the way up I met Jack 
Ward, one of my friends, and asked him if 
he thought we were in for some heavy fire. 
''Oh no," he said. ''It's just a few trench 
mortars to waken us up." He said that 
he was going back, for the Germans had the 
range on the communication trenches and 
were shooting down them like snakes. I 
thought it would be better to get up into 
the front line, which I made tracks for, but 
merely got into it when a "Minnie" came 
over, burying two fellows just beside me 
and knocking me over. You know when 
a shell hits within say ten or twelve feet, the 

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concussion smacks you nice and solid first, 
while the earth goes up all around you and 
comes down again before you can move. 

I helped to dig these chaps out and then 
the "Minnies" began to come over thick. 
They had us enfiladed, and when we watched 
for them coming, so as to dodge 'em when 
possible, we could see them cross in the air. 
We kept running along the trench on which 
the Germans turned a ' hail from their 
machine guns and in a little while it got so 
bad we couldn't dodge around any longer. 
We started back down a communication 
trench, thinking things might be better, 
but found it, if anything, worse. It was a 
mighty hot pickle to be in — the worst shell- 
ing by far that part of the line had ever had. 
About forty times, I think, I only escaped 
absolute annihilation by a few feet. Finally 
when we had about all endurance could put 
up with, I saw a big shell hole beside the 
trench and said to Flynn, another sniper, 
and a man from the 33d, who by the way 
had just come in and naturally was feeling 
pretty "windy": "Look here, we might as 

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well be in the open as in here. A shell 
doesn't often hit in the same place. Maybe 
we'll be better off out there." 

They agreed and we beat it over and 
settled down nice and comfortable in the 
bottom waiting — ^we didn't know for what. 
We had been in there about four nwnutes 
when a big ten-inch brute lit right in the 
middle of us. When I came to, some time 
after, I foimd myself out of the hole and 
over quite a bit nearer the road. Poor 
Flyiin had disappeared — ^you'll know how. 
The 33d man was lying near me groaning. 
He'd been cut up in the legs pretty badly 
with shrapnel. At first I didn't know there 
was much wrong with me, thought the dull- 
ness I felt was shell shock. So I crawled 
over to the other chap and asked him how 
bad he had it. Only then did I discover 
the hole in my back. At that time I hadn't 
any idea how bad it was. A chimk of shell 
about two inches long went through me 
just above the hip, a little to one side, and 
bored a hole as big as a good-sized fist. It's 
a wonder it didn't finish me on the spot. 

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As if that wasn't enough, another chtink 
poked a good-sized hole just at the edge of 
my right eye. You can see there now where 
it's healed up. I got out my first-aid kit 
and tried to get on a bandage, but by that 
time I was getting stiff and it was impossible 
to do anything. Even yet I hadn't suffered 
any pain to speak of. I got enough of that 
later, though. 

I lay down again — ^there was nothing else 
to do — ^and just then a barrage fire opened. 
I couldn't tell whose it was, since the Ger- 
man artillery was pretty well aroimd us, 
but those big shells seemed to come in from 
every direction. There was probably some 
dose from both sides. Anyway those big 
fellows came down all arotmd us. And the 
detonation. I thought I was pretty well 
used to it by that time, but what we'd 
had before wasn't a patch to this. Even at 
that I guess I must have been half -stunned 
from the big one in the hole. I'd lost 
my helmet when I was hoisted out of the 
trench and I won't soon forget how my eyes 
got ftdl of mud from those shells. That will 

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give you some idea how close they were. 
The stuff peppered me all over. I remem- 
ber there was a patch of woods to the left 
and I could see the trees being mowed down 
one by one. How the mischief one of those 
shells didn't hit me as I lay there is the 
biggest mystery I know. 

Finally I saw the Germans charging over 
from the left. You see they had broken 
through all round, our front trench was 
levelled and they seemed to be trying to 
clear out something to the right. 

Just about then, too, it must have been 
arotmd noon, a mine went off a few himdred 
yards to the left. It seemed to me that 
the ground shook like a small boat does in a 
rough sea. I thought the whole earth was 
turning upside down. We found out after- 
ward from one of the fellows who was nearer 
that the Germans had run a timnel right 
under our front trench and some consider- 
able distance behind it, trjdng to get under 
our Battalion Headquarters. However, they 
didn't get quite far enough. By this time 
there wasn't anybody left at Headquarters 

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though, so it wouldn't have made much 
difference. 

Well, that charge went over me, and after 
a while the Fritzies came back and started 
to **dig in'* not more than ten feet away. 
They seemed to have reached their objec- 
tive but for some reason didn't hold where 
they were. 

How did I feel about it? Well, by that 
time I was too sick to care much about any- 
thing. I had been lying there since early 
morning, scarcely able to move, had lost 
a good deal of blood and was begiiming to 
suffer mighty acutely. 

One big German who seemed surprisingly 
kind spotted me and stopped, asking if I 
were wounded. I wondered if there was 
any chance of getting him to dress the big 
wound for me, so showed it him. When he 
looked he held up three fingers and said, 
" Drei." It appeared, as I afterwards found 
to be the case, that there were three holes 
through me instead of one, as I had thought. 

When I showed him the bandage and 
motioned for him to put it on he shook his 

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head. I suppose I cotildn't blame hini 
much for our shells kept on lighting all 
aroimd. He did give me a drink of water 
and a cigarette. That swig of water seemed 
to clear out my mind a bit and I lay there 
on my side watching those beggars digging 
in. 

One other fellow out of the bunch called 
out "Kamerad, woimded?" I beckoned 
for him to come out to help me but not a 
foot would he come. 

When it began to get dark I knew I would 
have to do something or I would be dead 
in the morning so I called over to the other 
chap to see if he were still alive — ^he had 
lain as if asleep all day — ^and told him I was 
going to try to get into the German trench. 
Of course our position was all busted up, 
I knew there wasn't a chance in a billion of 
anybody from our lines getting to me, and 
the Germans had had things so much their 
own way that there seemed no Red Cross 
men around anywhere. 

Never will I forget that night. It took 
me three quarters of an hour to get over 

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that ten feet. Every move was an agony. 
Every nerve in me seemed to be strained 
to the limit. A dozen times I qtiit, thinJc- 
ing I might as well die out there as any- 
where else, but, as they say, life is sweet 
when there's even a chance for it, so I 
managed to get together resolution enough 
to keep on. Finally, I got close enough so 
that one or two of them reached out and 
pulled me in. Even at that they let me 
flop down on the bottom of the trench like 
a sandbag. 

The other chap got in a little later. He 
was only hurt in the legs but had been very 
weak. They carried him off behind some- 
where and I never heard of him again. 

I lay there, with those dirty beggars 
walking over and around me for perhaps 
half an hour, when two big fellows came 
along and picked me up, one by the legs, 
the other by the arms. I felt as if I was 
pulling in half and hollered like a bull. The 
hollering didn't affect them any, however, 
and they carried me back through a commu- 
nication trench to the former German lines. 

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After a bit, about eleven o'clock, I guess, 
they carried me back about half a mile 
farther. At that time our old shells were 
whizzing over the line and they soimded 
mighty good to me. They apparently had 
orders to take me still farther, but their 
trenches were getting bad by this time and 
they were afraid to cross the open spots. 
They hesitated for a long while and finally 
took me into a big dugout which seemed to 
be a sort of second-line dressing station. 
Here they put some sort of a big dry band- 
age on me and tossed me over on a bench. 
I went out of my head for a while, I guess, for 
I seemed to wake up and hear a familiar 
voice. "I know that guy," I thought, and 
when I mustered up resolution enough to 
turn my head I saw Corporal Thornton, 
from "A" Company of my own battalion, 
a Toronto boy, by the way, who had also 
been badly wounded a little farther up the 
line. He sat down on the floor beside me. 

Every once in a while a bunch of Germans 
would come in for minor dressings. That 
was our first sight of them when they weren't 

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on duty, and we didn't think much of it. 
Why, they carried on like a bunch of kids, 
moaning and crying over nothing. Say, 
they fussed like babies over little cuts that 
our fellows would laugh at and fix up them- 
selves. While they were waiting to get fixed 
up they would come across, look us over, and 
call us names. On the whole, though, after 
some things we had heard, we were rather 
surprised that we were left so much alone. 

That was a cheery spot all right, that 
dugout. When I was feeling pretty bad, 
well along into the night, I happened to 
look up above me and saw, what do you 
think — a lot of R.I.P. crosses stored there 
all ready for use on the graves of the poor 
beggars who were planted around in the 
vicinity. Oh yes, the Germans are good 
organizers, all right. 

In spite of it all we managed to sleep a 
little. Perhaps it was as much tmconscious- 
ness as sleep. Remember I hadn't had a 
bite to eat for over thirty hours and only 
one drink, and that out of a German water 
bottle, in that time. 

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I won't forget how I was waked up or 
brought back to consciousness somewhere 
about dawn, either. One of our big shells 
plowed its way down through the earth 
above, hit the comer of the dugout opposite 
us, and exploded. Funny what those big 
fellows do. This one lifted Thornton clean 
out of the door, and kicked me around, so 
that I got a good sharp crack on the head 
against a supporting pillar. I think it 
killed a couple of Germans. Of course the 
lights went out and I couldn't tell very 
well what happened. I do know the rest 
of the beggars went shrieking out into the 
trench. I got out of the rubbish somehow 
or other after a while and out into the trench 
beside Thornton, and there we lay till about 
three that afternoon. All this time the 
Germans were passing up and down though 
it was fairly quiet. Once a high officer and 
a sergeant-major stopped, looked at us, 
called us a few dirty names, but didn't 
interfere with us. We were n[iighty lucky, 
I guess, though neither of us cared much, 
just then, what happened. They couldn't 

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have done anything to us which wotild have 
caused any greater agony than we were 
suffering then. 

When I thought I had been dead a dozen 
times over, a couple of privates came along 
with a pole and a heavy sheet and carried 
us — ^nice and smoothly, I don't think — ^to 
another dressing station. Ever been carried 
this way even when you were fit? Try it 
and see how it feels. 

Here we came tmder a doctor's hands for 
the first time. They took off my clothes 
and after an inoculation dumped me on an 
operating table and cleaned out my wounds. 
Taken all in all I have been rather surprised, 
when I've stopped to think about it since, 
at the fairly decent treatment I got there. 
The doctor was rough, of course, but I 
guess not any more so than was to be ex- 
pected. They gave me a little tote of nmi, 
too, which helped me through this. 

About six o'clock four big chaps came 
along with stretchers and carried us back 
perhaps a mile to an ambulance. From 
here, with Thornton above me, we were 

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carried, rather more comfortable than pre- 
viously, into Menin and there placed in a 
sort of hospital in the waiting room of the 
railway station. There were about thirty 
of us altogether, mostly Germans, in that 
room, and so far as I could see we Canadians 
got the same treatment as the Germans did. 
One of the doctors who examined me here 
suggested that I give him a wrist watch, a 
present from my mother. Foolishly, I 
guess, I handed it over, but was mighty 
sorry afterward. 

I slept fairly well that night, lying on 
sacking stretched over a wooden framework, 
but was still feeling pretty sick in the morn- 
ing, for when they came aroimd with a bowl 
of coffee and a piece of bread I didn't want 
any. We lay there till the middle of the 
afternoon when we were carried out to a 
train and put aboard. That was the most 
comfortable place I had struck for a good 
while. They were regular compartment 
coaches, but the long seats made pretty fair 
beds, much more so than our American 
coaches would do. Here we were given a 

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bowl of soup, and some bread and coffee. 
By this time I was about ready for some 
kind of food and enjoyed it. Prom then 
we travelled off and on till we got into Cour- 
trai, a historic spot near the French border, 
in the early morning. 

Cotirtrai, we found, meant our first hospi- 
tal experience, for Thornton and I were 
taken to what had formerly been a Belgian 
institution and put in a ward where a few 
of our fellows were already installed. The 
first thing we heard when they carried us 
in was a cheery voice singing out from one 
of the beds: ''Hooray! how's old Canada 
getting on? *' It was a chap named McKay, 
from Fort William, who had been brought 
in some time before. 

We were in this place four days, during 
which time I was taken to the operating 
table again and given some more fixing up. 
The doctor here certainly knew his business. 
Like all the German doctors he was rough, 
but he seemed to know what he was doing 
and I felt satisfied that he did all that 
was possible for me. We had Belgian and 

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German nurses here, both of whom were 
kind and attentive. Other fellows I've met 
tell me I struck it lucky. Perhaps I did. 
I had nothing to complain of here and cer- 
tainly saw nothing of the barbarities prac- 
ticed on prisoners such ^s they told of. 

In the same hospital, by the way, in a 
ward above us. General Williams, who had 
been wotmded and captured in the same 
engagement, was under treatment at the 
time. 

Just when we were beginning to feel a 
little at home here we were shifted again, 
this time down to Duisburg, which seemed 
to be a sort of hospital center. This time 
we were interested in being transferred to 
a German hospital train of fifteen Red 
Cross coaches, the patients including both 
Germans and prisoners. These cars had 
every provision for comfort and so far as 
that goes things were not objectionable. 
The doctors were not by any means so 
kindly here, though. They used to come 
through and, apparently for mere curiosity, 
examine our wounds. By this time the 

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wound in my back, in spite of the somewhat 
heroic treatment given it, had begun to look 
pretty bad, I guess. These fellows used to 
turn me over to look at me, give a very 
expressive "Ugh!" from away down in 
their throats, and pass along. Some com- 
fort, wasn't it? I fotmd out later, when 
things looked a little brighter, that I had 
been tabulated as the worst case among 
fifteen other British prisoners who were 
being carried on that train. 

. I had a good meal on that train too, the 
best meal I had in Germany — ^potatoes, 
carrots, cabbage, and a very little boiled 
beef. They offered us bread, too, but we 
couldn't touch it then. That sounds pretty 
good. And that's just the way it tasted. 
But — I only had such a meal once. 

Arriving at Duisburg we were put into 
electric trolleys with a double row of ham- 
mocks in place of the seats which had been 
removed and from these transferred to a 
big hospital. 

It helped a whole lot that I was fortunate 
enough to fall in with friends a good deal 

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of the time during these hospital experi- 
ences. While they put Thornton into an- 
other ward here I was surprised to find, 
when I was carried into a small room 
with five beds, that I knew one of the men, 
Sergeant Darby. Corporal Botel and a 
young lad named Camahan occupied other 
beds. 

They took me to an operating room again, 
here — ^by this time I began to get used to 
that side of the business — ^and an old doctor, 
the younger ones all seemed to be at the 
front, attended to me. The nurses here 
were yoimg girls, apparently without a great 
deal of experience, probably corresponding 
to our V.A.D.'s. Some of them were kind 
enough but the most of them showed that 
they didn't bear any particular love for us. 
I suppose it was only natural, but it did 
seem rather hard to have one of those girls 
— one or two of them were mighty attrac- 
tive — smile ironically and sneer, when the 
dressing was particularly painful. In a 
second operation they took out of my back 
a piece of my leather belt which had been 

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carried in with the chunk of shell and most 
of the way through me. 

Here for the first time we got an idea of 
what the Germans themselves were think- 
ing of the war. In three or four weeks I got 
so I could get around a little on crutches, 
and a few of us used to be allowed out in a 
little court in the hospital yard. Here one 
day I got into conversation with a sentry, 
a soldier who had been on both the Russian 
and the Western fronts. By this time I 
had picked up a little German and he knew 
a little English so we could imderstand one 
another fairly well. He told me that he 
had his orders to return to France shortly, 
but th^^t he was heartily sick of the whole 
thing and was ready to do anything to get 
out of it. Three other wounded men I got 
in touch with incidentally were sent back 
even before they were an3rway fit. They 
told me that this was the way it worked in 
Germany. That every man was used, even 
if he had an arm off. 

Our food was mainly soup and bread. 
Thin soup, made from turnips or potatoes, 

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with once in a long while a very little meat. 
Occasionally, for a change, we got a little 
rice. Not the kind your mother used to 
give you, full of raisins with a sprinkle of 
brown sugar all over the top. No indeed. 
We got only the pure stuff, without sweet- 
ening of any kind, and were mighty glad 
to get that. 

What we got wasn't so bad, but we didn't 
get half enough and were htingry all the 
time. Do you know anything of what that 
feeling is? This was before our Red Cross 
parcels began to come in to us and we had 
absolutely nothing but what they allowed 
us. Once, after talking it over, we made a 
complaint to the Hospital Commandant, 
who seemed to be not such a bad old fellow, 
and, so that he couldn't accuse us of being 
unreasonable, asked if we could have a 
little larger bread allowance. 

' ' More bread ? " he said, in reply. ' ' You 
can thank Lloyd George for what you have 
got. At that you are getting as much as 
we are. All we are allowed is a half-pound 
a day." 

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He seemed to be telling the truth and 
from what we learned afterward I guess he 
was. So we thought we were pretty lucky 
and quit kicking. We found out a few 
months later how lucky we really were. 

In another ward of the same hospital 
were a nimiber of Frenchmen and just at 
this time they were getting a good deal of 
stuff in from home— biscuits, bread, tobacco, 
and such stuff. One of these poilus, who 
shared up his tobacco and biscuits with us, 
used to show us what came in his biscuits. 
He would run his knife in and locate a piece 
of money every time. 

To be fair, I think I should tell about 
the civilians who came to see us occasion- 
ally. Duisburg is a place of 100,000 I sup- 
pose, a manufacturing center on the Rhine, 
and the people seemed to be fairly well off, 
though they certainly had no food to spare. 
Sometimes on Sunday afternoons some of 
the women would come in to see us. They 
seemed to like to talk about Canada, ap- 
peared to be quite friendly, and quite often 
expressed sympathy for us. Occasionally 

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they gave us a cigarette apiece, and once 
or twice they gave us ten or fifteen pfennigs 
in money* From a verandah to which we 
had access we could hail the passing chil- 
dren and we used to get them to go and buy 
cigarettes for us when we had money. We 
expected at first that we wouldn't see them 
again, but invariably they came back with 
our supply. Occasionally, too, some musi- 
cians came around to the hospital and 
helped to while away an hour or two. Of 
course they played for their own men, not 
for us, but we enjoyed it just the same. 



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CHAPTER III 

FROM HOSPITAL TO PRISON CAMP 

Corporal MacMuUen continues: 

We thought while we were at Duisbiirg 
we were having a pretty hard time. So we 
were, so far as getting enough to eat was 
concerned. Outside of that I suppose there 
wasn't very much to complain about. But, 
unhappily, the Duisburg experiences didn't 
last long. 

I was at the hospital about seven weeks 
and at the end was getting so I could get 
along, with difficulty, without crutches. 
One morning we were issued new tmiforms, 
mine being that of a German sailor, one 
or two of the other chaps being arrayed 
in Belgian privates' clothes. We knew 
that meant something new and that some- 
thing was not long in coming. That day 

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fifteen of us Canadians, with some other 
prisoners, were put aboard the train and 
after a three-hour trip were landed near 
Wesel, in sight of, but about a n:ule and a 
half away from, Friedrichsfeld Camp, the 
second largest prison camp and one of the 
largest miUtary training camps in Germany. 
Here I was destined to spend a good deal of 
my time dtiring the next fourteen months. 

That mile and a half was the spot that 
broke the camel's back all right. We had 
to walk it and carry whatever we had with 
us. Since I had only been off crutches a 
week or so and done little moving around 
at that, you won't be surprised that I was 
about all in when we finally reached the 
camp. 

And here I began to really realize that I 
was a prisoner. The camp proper occupied 
about a square mile on a flat plain sur- 
roimded by bush. At intervals observation 
posts, in the shape of wooden towers, were 
placed and in these we could see sentries 
behind machine guns. The prisoners' en- 
closure was surrounded by two rows of 

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barbed wire about ten feet high, strung on 
posts four feet apart, and between these was, 
as we learned later, more wire electrically 
charged. 

We Canadians were taken first to a room 
outside the camp itself and questioned as to 
our knowledge of military matters. I don't 
think they got much out of us, though. 
Then we were marched into the camp and 
allotted to No. 2B barrack, which proved 
to be a wooden hut, about three hundred 
feet long, thirty-five feet wide, and fifteen 
feet high, and arranged to accommodate 
six hundred men. Since there were ten 
thousand prisoners in the camp at the time, 
you can imagine how many of these barracks 
there were and what a size the place was. 
In addition to these there were seventy or 
eighty thousand prisoners attached to the 
camp, who had been through it but were 
placed out at work on the farms and in 
various factories. 

We found about forty other Canadians in 
the barracks, together with a number of 
Englishmen. In the camp at this time, 

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however, there were also Australians, New 
Zealanders, South Africans, an occasional 
Sikh and Gurka, and also French, Algerians, 
Arabs, and Russians. Afterwards a number 
of Belgian civilians were also put in the 
same camp. Quite a cosmopolitan gather- 
ing, you see. They tried to keep the differ- 
ent classes together as much as possible. 

Where possible, a non-com. was put in 
charge of each barracks, and we soon got 
acquainted with Sergeant-Major Cullen- 
ham, who supervised No. 2B. He and the 
other fellows gave us what food and tobacco 
they could spare. They had been getting 
Red Cross parcels, you see. And then we 
were told that we would shortly be examined 
as to our physical fitness. When he saw 
what shape I was in, CuUenham advised 
me to try to be as sick as possible, but was 
not very encouraging as to what the result 
would be. 

The next morning they put us through 
this examination. And I can assure you 
that it wasn't particularly gentle. I could 
scarcely hobble arotmd at all so I<ididn't 

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have to try to be sick. When the doctors 
sized me up they told me to bend over. 
I honestly tried to bend as fax as I could 
which at that time wasn't very far. They 
demanded that I bend further, and when I 
made out that I couldn't, two of them 
grabbed me and bent me almost double. It 
seemed to be breaking my back and was 
so bad that I fainted and fell on the floor. 
This apparently didn't impress them much, 
however, or they thought I was malingering, 
for they placed me in category 2B, which 
meant that I was fit for "fatigue" duty in 
camp and outside. Their classes seem to 
correspond pretty well with those fixed by 
our own military authorities, but nattu-ally 
the standard was applied rather differently 
in the case of prisoners. The fact that I 
had my corporal's stripes probably had 
something to do with this too. 

I found out shortly that "fatigue" duty 
was to be no sinecure. At first it meant 
shovelling sand and laying rails for travel- 
ling cranes. 

The camp had originally been surrotmded 

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by a moat about twenty-five feet wide and 
fifteen feet deep, presumably as an added 
protection against escape. We were told, 
however, that when the water had become 
stagnant, some time before, it had been 
condemned as a menace to health and had 
been drained. It was partly filled in and 
then someone seems to have discovered 
that a projected ship canal from Dortmund, 
by way of the river Lippe, would pass near 
the camp and that this moat could be 
used. So the prisoners were set to digging 
it out again. And it was at this sort of 
thing that I was first set to work. 

You can imagine that I wasn't in any 
shape to keep at work like this steadily. 
At times I simply had to sit down to rest 
my back. No sooner would I get down, 
however, than a guard would come along 
who would poke me with a bayonet and 
with a "Raus, schwein Englander!" would 
force me to get up again. This work hit 
me so hard that when we were allowed into 
the camp for lunch and supper I was too 
sick to eat anjrthing, but just lay on my 

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PRISON CAMP 

bunk in agony, wondering how much longer 
I could stand it. 

Once I went down at the Sergeant- 
Major's advice and reported sick. They 
simply looked at me, said "Gut,'* and sent 
me out to work again. 

Occasionally in the afternoons I got a 
little relief when they put me at peeling 
potatoes, of which at that time they seemed 
to have a fair supply. Even at that they 
watched us mighty closely to see that we 
took off thin peelings. Oh they were mighty 
careful about food all right. 

What did we get to eat ? Well, for break- 
fast, served at 6 a.m. we got coffee made 
from acorns. It was simply vile-tasting 
warm water, with no nourishment what- 
ever. We used to drink water in prefer- 
ence, which, thank heaven, we did get lots 
of. For dinner, at twelve, they usually 
handed out turnips or mangels boiled into 
soup. Once in a long while this was thick 
and somewhat satisfying. Usually it was 
thin and more of an aggravation than any- 
thing else. Bread fatigue was called at 

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two, and here a loaf of war bread, such as 
Jack has described, was divided among 
eleven men. The allowance was two hun- 
dred grammes per man, which would be the 
equivalent of a fairly thick slice from one 
of our baker's loaves. We got this at six 
with a little "sandstorm** soup. We were 
supposed to save the bread, or part of it, 
for breakfast, but when it was at all eat- 
able nobody could ever work up resolution 
enough to hang on to any of it. Often it 
was absolutely imeatable. At least we 
couldn't manage it. We could always dis- 
pose of it, however, to the Russians, who, 
poor fellows, seemed to suffer dreadftdly 
from the meager ration and who could get 
away with anything. Someway or other 
the Russians had quite a bit of money 
among them and were always ready to pay 
for anything we might give them. 

But the continued sensation of gnawing 
hunger was terrible. If it hadn't been for 
the Red Cross parcels I think most of us 
would have died. 

How did the parcels get to us? Well, it 

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was really a remarkable system. Notifica- 
tion was sent to Headqtiarters.in London of 
every British prisoner and of his where- 
abouts. A little time afterwards he re- 
ceived a postal card of inquiry, asking as to 
the sizes of clothing and boots. Then a 
parcel containing an outfit of a prisoner's 
uniform, tmderdothing, socks, and boots 
was sent in. This was all splendid sttiff. 
Why, at times we were infinitely better 
clothed than the German soldiers in the 
training camp near-by. When these imi- 
forms came in the Germans would cut a 
chunk out of the right sleeve and sew a strip 
of red in here and also up the back of the 
coat as well as on the trousers. This was 
for identification, of course. My parcel 
of clothing did not come along, however, 
till two or three months after I was sent 
to Friedrichsf eld Camp and I was in terrible 
shape till this reached nae. 

How we looked forward, though, to the 
food parcels. These were arranged to come 
in every fortnight. Unforttmately, how- 
ever, their delivery was very irregular. 

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Sometimes we got eight or nine parcels 
together. You can imagine how "fine" we 
had been before this and how we lit into 
them when a btmch did arrive. Of course 
we shared up with one another and that 
helped along a good deal. 

Say, that buUy beef and canned salmon 
used to be great. You see we were getting 
absolutely no meat in our ration, and while 
a vegetarian diet may be all right if you Ve 
got enough of it, it wasn't very attractive 
to us when scanty, particularly after we'd 
had all the beef and bacon and mutton 
we wanted up in the trenches. The food 
parcels came in stout wooden boxes sup- 
posed to carry about thirty potmds, and 
besides the beef and salmon we got oat- 
meal, rice, dates, tea or cocoa, and soap. 
That soap was used for other purposes than 
washing and intrinsically was more valuable 
to us than we had ever imagined. That, 
however, comes in later on. In addition 
to these at that time, we got occasional 
parcels from home. Since then, that has 
been stopped. * 

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Didn't the Germans steal these parcels? 
No, I don't think they did, very often. You 
see, the thing was arranged pretty well to 
avoid the possibility of that. The stuff 
was sent from England to Holland and put 
on trains there by British interned men. 
The trains came right over the border and 
direct to the camps and the stuff wasn't 
handled, usually, tmtil it arrived. Then 
some of our men were detailed to get it 
into the camp, all this being done under 
the sergeant-major's inspection. If it hadn't 
been so well cased up I suppose there would 
have been a good deal of it missing when 
it reached us, but it was pretty hard to get 
inside those wooden boxes without leav- 
ing a trace. Then, you see, the parcels for 
each man were numbered consecutively. 
A postal card would be sent, annotmcing 
when one was sent to you, and if the parcel 
did not arrive in what seemed reasonable 
time, a complaint could be made. I don't 
think I missed more than two or three of 
my parcels all the time I was in Germany, 
and these may have been used by some of 

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the boys in the camp while I was out on 
the farms outside. 

If it hadn't been for the awful hunger 
and the depressed feeling that we were 
prisoners I suppose we should have con- 
sidered ourselves fairly comfortable in that 
camp. There were several ways of putting 
in the time, — ^what little we had, aside from 
working. 

For instance, we had religious services 
on Wednesday nights and twice on Stmday, 
conducted by Corporal Oliver, who had 
been a preacher in England. These were 
held in a little hut which was reserved for 
the purpose. The Church of England ser- 
vice was used, principally, I suppose, be- 
cause some Prayer Books and Hymn Books 
to go with it had been sent in. We used 
to enjoy these services too. In some way 
they seemed to mean a good deal more to 
us than such things had done at home. 

When we heard that one or two of our 
fellows were working as stonemasons we 
were interested enough to inquire further 
as to what they were doing. It was con- 

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siderable of a stirprise to find that they 
were cutting gravestones. And thereby 
hangs rather an interesting story. 

Behind the camp and about a quarter of 
a mile away was a huge cemetery, which 
we f otmd had been used dtiring the War of 
1870 and was again being used, for the 
interment of prisoners who died while in the 
prison camp, as many of them, poor fellows, 
did. There was a British as well as a French 
section and occasionally our fatigue work 
took us down there to cut the weeds and 
clean the place up. Yes, it was fairly well 
kept. You see, there was an arrangement 
that if any one wanted to visit a friend's 
grave, he could put in a written request to 
the camp commandant and permission was 
usually given a week or so later. This visit 
was always on a Sunday afternoon when we 
were not on regular duty. Then one could 
go down for a little while, under guard, of 
course, and do any little work he pleased 
to make his friend's grave look better. In 
that way things were looked after fairly 
well. It may be a comfort to any parents 

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whose sons have died while in one of these 
camps, to know that their graves are care- 
fully marked, probably by a stone cut by 
one of their comrades, and will apparently 
be well preserved. I went down to the 
English cemetery once or twice on Sundays, 
but it was so depressing, thinking about 
the sadness of it all, that I didn't want to 
go again. 



[78I 



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CHAPTER IV 



INTO "the black hole" OF GERMANY 



Jack Evans resumes: 

We found Dulman Camp to be merely an 
enclosure about three quarters of a mile 
square, in which about nine thousand 
prisoners, made up of a representation of 
practically all the Allies, were given ques- 
tionable shelter in canvas-roofed huts. 
Naturally we looked arotmd at first to see 
if there were any prospects of escape. But 
when we saw three rows of wire, fotmd out 
that one of these was electrically charged 
by a high-tension current furnished by a 
power house right in the place, we began to 
get our eyes opened. In addition to the 
wire, there were sentries both inside and 
out, and not satisfied with this they had 
placed a row of outposts, also guarded by 



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OUT OF HUNLAND 

sentries, from a hundred to two hundred 
yards out. No, we found means of getting 
away from other camps and I suppose if 
we'd been there long enough would have 
tried there, but there were very few attempts. 

We went through something of the same 
procedure as Fred has described at Fried- 
richsf eld, only I think he was mighty lucky. 
He had his troubles afterward, all right, 
but certainly got off easy in the hospitals 
and in his first camp experiences. You 
see, I hadn't the honor of being a corporal, 
so got it put to me a good deal harder. 

We used to be rooted out at 5.30 and 
sent to wash. Soap ? What are you giving 
us? I never saw any soap all the time I 
was in Hunland except what came in our 
Red Cross parcels. By that time the 
Germans had almost forgotten what soap 
was. It was a real delicacy for them. 
Then we went to work. At 9.30 we were 
given coffee — ^No, I don't think it was per- 
colated — ^and at noon a bowl of thin turnip 
soup. We worked on this from one till 
5.30 and then came in with glorious appe- 

[80I 



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*'THE BLACK HOLE'* 

titesfor "dinner/' consisting of "sandstorm" 
and a little bread. Besides being black, 
doughy, and sour, the bread possessed char- 
acteristics such as are attributed to ancient 
cheese. You had to hold on to your chunk 
— ^tether it, so to speak — or there was dan- 
ger of it getting away from you. We were 
expected to save this bread till morning, 
just as Fred has told you they were sup- 
posed to do in Friedrichsfeld, but under 
these conditions, well, would you expect 
us to? 

One time they did give us what seemed 
to be an unusual treat when we found bits 
of meat floating rotmd in the noon-day 
soup. It tasted rather queer, so we asked 
one of the cooks what it was. When he 
said " Dog,'* and saw that we didn't believe 
him, he lifted the cover off the pot and 
showed us. Better quit about this, hadn't I ? 

I guess the Germans themselves knew 
more about this sort of thing than we did, 
however. One of the French prisoners who 
had been out working on a small farm 
told of having a meal with the family and 

6 [81] 



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OUT OF HUNLAND 

of being stirprised when served with meat. 
When he asked where it came from they 
told him it was their Fido, or whatever 
name the animal bore. When people ask 
us sometimes whether we weren't often 
chased by dogs during our attempts at 
escape later and we teU them No, they never 
seem to guess the reason. There's a good 
one, nevertheless, and it shows just how 
scarce meat of any kind is in Germany. 

To show you to what depths human 
beings can be brought by hunger it is per- 
haps only necessary to note that once just 
about this time, when we hadn't any par- 
cels for a good while, we made a raid on the 
garbage cans arotmd the cook house. The 
contents were usually very carefully pre- 
served and shipped out of the caiiip, I pre- 
straie for food for cattle or pigs. Anyway, 
we were delighted that day to get a small 
supply each of potato peelings and turnip 
tops. These were usually boiled up but, 
somehow or other, had been thrown out 
that time. It didn't do us any good, how- 
ever, for when it came to soup time next 

[82] 



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"THE BLACK HOLE" 

day there was no soup f orthcx)mmg, and 
the excuse was that there was none to give 
us. Another time when we were about 
desperate a bunch of us made a raid on 
the cellar of the cook house. We were for- 
ttmate enough to get a few potatoes but 
again stiffered as a result, for no dinner was 
forthcoming next day. 

Shortly after we were sent to Dulman 
my injured foot began to trouble me a good 
deal and I got a chance to take on a job 
as barber. There were two of us to attend 
to four hundred British prisoners, who were 
supposed to be shaved and trimmed up 
once a week. We had four razors and a 
very poor strop between us, but no hone, 
and no chair. We did improvise a chair, 
though, by putting an inverted stool at an 
angle on a table, while the "customers" 
lay back comfortably (?) along the legs. 
Say, I think I was cursed more in that 
month or so than I would get in a lifetime 
in hell. Of course it was pretty hard on 
the poor chaps and I couldn't blame them. 
Then again they couldn't blame me, for I 

[83I 



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OUT OF HUNLAND 

certainly did the best I could with what 
I had at hand. No, there were no tips 
extended. 

On one occasion every one was started 
cleaning up everything around the camp, 
and some way the word got rotmd that an 
oflfidal was coning to visit us. It turned 
out to be United States Ambassador Gerard. 
I wonder if he remembers that day in Dul- 
man Camp when a long, lean, rough-looking 
geeser, with his cheek bones standing out, 
stepped out, when he asked if we had any 
complaint, and asked if he couldn't arrange 
to get us a little more food? That was me. 
Mr. Gerard apparently sympathized with 
us and was very decent, promising to take 
the matter up with the camp commandant. 
He said also that our parcels would soon 
be coming, which would help us. I guess 
he had the interview with the commandant 
all right, but it did no good. We got no 
more food. 

That was the way it worked often. When 
any oflficial from any other country was 
expected, they would make us clean up, and 

I84l 



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''THE BLACK HOLE" 

the food wotdd improve — ^for a few days. 
After the visit things went back again to 
former conditions. 

However, we were to find out shortly 
that Duhnan Camp, bad as we thought it, 
wasn't by any means the worst place in 
Germany. 

After two months here, about fifty of us 
were given a medical inspection and inocu- 
lation and one morning were marched out 
and loaded on a railway truck for a trip of 
about thirty miles. We were told we were 
being sent out to work on a farm and natu- 
rally were quite elated, because we thought 
we would surely be able to get hold of more 
food some way. It was a farm, all right — 
''Stmnybrook Farm," as the fellows called 
it — ^but turned out to be the Auguste Victo- 
ria gruber, one of the largest coal mines and 
coke manufactories in Germany. It had 
another distinction, as we soon found when 
we got there, in being known among prison- 
ers as "The Black Hole" of Germany. 
This arose, perhaps, from the fact that what 
were considered the least tractable prison- 

[851 



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OUT OP HUNLAND 

ers were sent there. Whether I deserved the 
distinction or how I earned it has always 
been a matter of conjecture. 

The mine head and coke ovens, together 
with the huts of the prison camp, were en- 
closed in a compoimd about a quarter of 
a mile square. The accompanying sketch 
will give a better idea of its arrangement 
and of the possibility of some rather inter- 
esting subsequent events than is possible 
otherwise. 

We fotmd on arrival, and after getting 
in touch with other prisoners, that there 
were about 750 fellow-prisoners — ^French, 
Russians, and Belgians, as well as a good 
representation of British, and that these, 
with a considerable ntmiber of German 
civilians, operated the mine and coke ovens. 
Ordinarily a civilian force of three thousand 
or more was employed. 

When the British prisoners told us what 
we were up against we said we would refuse 
to work. They laughed at us rather sadly 
and said that we could refuse all we liked, 
that it would do no good, that others had 

[86] 



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CNCUSH BARRACK 



TUNNELLED UNDER 
BARRACK ROOM FLOOR 
UNDER SENTRIES 



BARBED ^< WiRE 






..*<^^ 
%.,^*^* 







MAIN 



ROAD 



WINDOW ESCAPE 
4-^f ATTEMPT 



WASH noom roK\ 

PRISONERS ■> 







MINE HEAD 
FOR COINC DOWN PIT 

3orrAao¥E crouno 



20 F"^ ABOVE 



. 1 


BECREATI ON 
(^ CROUNO 


RUSSIAN 
BARRACH 


ENCLISH 

ANO 
CANADIAN 

BARRACH 



+ Indieaim Sentries 



Plan of Aiiguste*Victoria camp and mine buildings to illustrate the several escapes 

of Evans and his pals. 

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"THE BLACK HOLE" 

tried the same thing with rather unpleasant 
results. They told us stories of prisoners 
who had been stood up against the cx)ke 
ovens till their faces were scorched and one 
or two showed us the resulting scars. One 
Scotchman from the Fusiliers, Menie, I 
think his name was, showed us a bayonet 
wound in his face, not yet quite healed, 
which had come as a result of his refusal. 
With this we appreciated the situation. 

Our party got into the camp on Saturday. 
That night I was issued with mining clothes 
and detailed to go to work on Monday. 
Some of the fellows had to start in on 
Simday night. 
Here is a sort of restim6 of what happened : 
On Monday morning about 4 a.m., I was 
kicked awake and was then marched oflf 
to the ndne-head where I changed my 
clothes, putting on a special stiit marked 
with distinguishing stripes on coat, pants, 
and cap. Then I was given a slip of paper 
bearing a number, in this casfe 3*575, and 
also bearing the number of the revere or 
gallery I was assigned to. Another chap, 

[87 1 



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OUT OP HUNLAND 

Raesides, and myself were put under the 
tender care of two six-foot Prussian civil- 
ians, one of whom, by the way, had been 
at the front, and were escorted to the cage 
and dropped down half a mile or so to 
the operating level. The mine machinery 
seemed modem, ever3rthing was nicely elec- 
trically-lighted and at first things didn't 
look so bad. 

We had been told by the other fellows 
that the ordinary practice of these Prussian 
civilians and the Steigers, or foremen, was to 
try to scare the daylights out of the prison- 
ers at first, so that they would have them 
cowed, and were advised not to let them 
bulldoze us. So when they put us at shov- 
ing stone wagons where blasting was going 
on, and started to yell at us and to threaten 
us as though we were slaves, we saw how 
things were moving. At "Buttin" time, 
about 10 A.M., when they sat down to eat, 
we naturally rested and then they ques- 
tioned us as to what sort of work we had 
done previously. Thinking we would' see 
whether we could jolly them, Rae said he 

\ 88 1 



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x^o\ c^.Nv y\ 


X 








V 


/ 






\ •■ 


^ 


\W«/v 


/ 


\r.. 


r~^' \ / 




C; 


\) 


\^^^WES 


V- ^.^^T^^'-^^^zdt^ 


^ 


^^ 


nI 


^^^^^'^^''y^^^^^^^-nrf^^ °^^.^^^^ ^ MA 


i^VJ 


heCHUNCHM^ 


^^ 






*---^::iV.-.-^ 


^^1\ J K> 


> N> 


rv^ 


\ DORTMUND 


\ \ / /^ ^^^'^"^JI^S^— ^>-.wi^ 


>— ^ 


pSSi!!::^ — 


y^ 


/'^ / •^^T mUlhWim /^ 


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'V^'" 


x^ 


CREFELO^ J ) 









Diagram showing route taken by Evans from prison camp 
to Holland. 



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"THE BLACK HOLE" 

had been a pugilist, and when my turn 
came I told them, as best I could, that I 
was a cowboy. Of course we knew practi- 
cally no German then, and while one of 
them spoke a little English he didn't "get** 
that word. They seemed to understand, 
however, when Rae sketched it on the ndne 
wall. And after that, for a little while, 
they seemed a little less overbearing. 

Those were ugly brutes though, and 
we were continually getting into trouble. 
Once, after they had threatened him repeat- 
edly, Rae hit one of them on the chin with 
a shovel. This quieted them down for 
a while, but apparently they complained 
about us for in a little while we were split 
up, one working with each of the Prussians. 
We made a compact that we would stand 
together if anything happened, and several 
times when either of them got obstreperous, 
called each other for help and thus were 
able to hold them off pretty well. 

After about six weeks of this, though, 
they put in a complaint that we would 
not work. What happened? We were 

[89I 



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OUT OF HUNLAND 

taken outside in the weather, and, minus 
any topcoat and with the thin coats we 
had unfastened, were made to stand at stiU- 
gestanden (Attention) for six hours. It 
was cold then, Jintiiny ! it was cold, but there 
was no help for it. It's a wonder we didn't 
freeze to death. 

Another time, when Bill Flannagan, my 
closest chtmi in the army, was killed by 
falling stone in the mine, we again refused to 
work. We were made to stand at attention 
again to about the limit of our physical 
ability, and every once in a while the sentry 
would come along and give us a dirty kick. 

I got lots of that sort of thing for it used 
to hit me that every shovelful of coal was 
probably being used to help make mtmi- 
tions to use against our fellows back there 
in the trenches. When those feelings would 
come I would refuse to work. Invariably 
would come this stillgestanden business, and 
I don't know anything that will break a 
fellow quicker. Once they kept me stand- 
ing without food or water for thirty-six 
hours, and once in that time I got to my 

[90J 



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Raesides and Evans. 

Taken at Auguste-Victoria camp in borrowed new uniforms and faked up by 

German staff photographers. 



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"THE BLACK HOLE'' 

limit and fainted. That didn't do any good, 
however, for they tossed a bucket of water 
over me and whein I came to, kicked me up 
into the line again. What could we do 
tmder circumstances like these? It broke 
our hearts to do it but there was nothing 
for it but to go back again to the shovelling. 

These civilian miners worked by the piece 
and of course it was in their interests to get 
all they could out of us. We were supposed 
to receive five marks (about a dollar) a 
week for our labor. Usually, however, they 
f oxmd a way to make Strafes or fines in this 
so that we were fortunate if we drew one 
mark of it. 

I was forced at this sort of thing, and all 
the time was suffering from hunger and 
other privations, for about eight months. 
Then, just before Christmas one day, some- 
thing seemed to bother me and instead of 
going into the old workings I went off to 
another spot and lay down. It wasn't long 
before three Steigers caught me asleep. 
They lit into me with sticks and hammered 
me up pretty badly. I stood it as long as I 

[91] 



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OUT OF HUNLAND 

could, but suddenly my dander flared up 
and I grabbed up a miner's lamp standing 
near, swtmg it aroimd, and hit one of them 
a pretty bad crack on the chest. This 
settled them for the moment, but I was 
marched off to an underofficer of the camp 
where a charge was laid. I expected, of 
course, to be ptmished, and was not sur- 
prised, for I was given three days in "black 
cells." When I got out I refused to work 
and expected further treatment, but the 
case took a funny turn. It appeared that I 
was charged with a crime, but since this was 
against civilians it was ruled that I should 
be tried in a civilian cotirt. So a few days 
later I was marched off under guard, down 
to Recklinghausen for a preliminary trial. 
From here I was sent on to a higher court, 
apparently a coimty court, at Dortmimd. 
You can understand that I was prepared for 
ahnost anything. I was rather stirprised, 
however, to be given an interpreter and a 
lawyer. I had plaimed to put on as bold a 
front as possible, had borrowed a good- 
looking tmif orm from one of the other f el- 

[92] 



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"THE BLACK HOLE'' 

lows, and had tried to polish up as much as I 
could. When my name was called, I walked 
out in front of the judge and jury and ap- 
pealed as straightforwardly as I knew how, 
in the name of a British soldier, for a square 
deal. My remarks were duly interpreted 
and the judge assured me that I would be 
justly treated. And I want to say right 
here that I was. It was some sensation, 
though, to be the only Englishman — ^indeed, 
the only coxmtryman other than Germans — 
in a German court, and a prisoner of war 
besides. 

As the case proceeded, one of the Steigers 
charged that I had begun the fracas by 
striking him with the lamp on the jaw. 
When my turn came, I gave my evidence 
straightforwardly and submitted, as strongly 
as I knew how, that if the blow had been 
delivered on the jaw, as the Steiger charged, 
there would have been a scar from the 
woimd. I was closely cross-examined but 
stuck to my story and in the end was let off 
scot-free while one of the Steigers was fined 
a hundred marks and costs. 

[93l 



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OUT OP HUNLAND 

After the trial the Steigers wanted the 
guard who had me in charge to go into an 
inn and have a drink with them. I told 
him to go along, that I wotild wait for him, 
but apparently he did not care to trust me, 
for he motioned me to come along also. 
Now those fellows certainly didn't intend 
me to drinJc with them and at their expense, 
particularly after one of them had been 
fined, but when they sat down at a table 
with one vacant chair I had nerve enough 
to sit down too. And when the girl took 
their order for Heissen Schnapps all roimd, 
I said Heissen Schnapps too. At first one 
or two of them wanted to interfere, but one 
of the others said: *'0h give the Schweine- 
hund a drink. He should get it. He has 
nerve enough.'* Altogether I got four 
drinks out of those fellows, and then they 
had a few more roxmds which apparently 
they did not care to pay for for me. 

A little time afterward one of the three 
Steigers appealed the case and it was carried 
to a higher court, this time again at Reck- 
linghausen, where the former preliminary 

[94l 



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''THE BLACK HOLE" 

trial had been held. Here the same pro- 
cedure was followed, and in the end the 
appellant was fined twenty marks and costs 
and again I was let off. 

This incident seemed to have a beneficial 
effect at the mines. Perhaps it led to some 
new regulations among the Steigers. We 
never heard. At any rate conditions were 
improved afterward to some extent at least, 
so far as the treatment by the Steigers was 
concerned. 

These Steigers^ by the way, were an illus- 
tration of the result of German military 
methods. Most of them had been sergeant- 
majors in the army, in which positions they 
had developed their brutality and bullying 
tactics. And the way they used the Ger- 
man civilians was a shame. No Canadian 
wotdd stand for it for a moment. It didn't 
work out on our fellows, though. I think 
I am fair in saying, and I'm not boasting, 
either, that the British prisoners had the 
upper hand of the civilian laborers almost 
without exception. And this illustrates 
rather succinctly the difference between 

[951 



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OUT OP HUNLAND 

the two peoples. These poor German chaps 
had been brow-beaten in the army and 
during whatever work they were engaged 
in till they took almost anything without 
kicking. Our fellows had been looking out 
for themselves and wotddn't stand for any 
undue interference. 

Some time after the trial I was put to 
work with a very decent Steiger, Fritz, an 
older man than most of them, who used 
me very fairly. He was really too old to 
work at that sort of thing, but had to do it. 
He lost no opportunity of expressing his 
hatred for England, and one day when I 
asked why he was so bitter, he told me that 
he had lost five sons, killed in the war. He 
was filled up with the Junkers' idea that 
England had started the scrap and so it 
wasn't very much wonder he felt hardly 
toward us. 

We got the impression from these civil- 
ians that they had lost interest in the war. 
At that time they were badly off for food 
and were more interested in the prospects 
for food than for any likelihood of victory. 

[96] 



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'*THE BLACK HOLE'' 

As old Fritz said to me one day: *'Kein 
Brot, kein Fleisch, keine S6hne. Deutsch- 
land ist verruckt." (No bread, no meat, no 
sons. Germany is crazy.) 

These fellows used to fill tis up with 
stories of what the Zepps. were doing in 
England and especially in London. While 
we didn't believe, of course, all they told 
us, it was mighty dispiriting not to know 
whether there was anything in it or not. At 
one time they told us that the Zepps. were 
bombarding the shores of America, and since 
the United States hadn't yet entered the 
war, we thought it must be in Canada and 
thought about the poor people in Halifax. 
Then that paper you've likely heard of. The 
Continental Times ^ printed in English, osten- 
sibly for the benefit of the prisoners, used 
to be sold arotmd the camps. This was f till 
of just such stuflf, purporting, too, to come 
from British sotirces. Sometimes it was 
mighty hard to keep our spirits up. But we 
just had to. We knew the German news- 
papers had been full of lies previously and we 
went on the faith that this was still the case. 

[97] 



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OUT OP HUNLAND 

Just here, too, I met a civilian laborer 
who had been living in the United States for 
five years, but had come home just before 
the war and had been drafted and forced 
to work. He was more than fed up on the 
whole business, told us that the stuff in The 
Continental Times was the same as that in 
the German papers, and that we could rely 
on about fifty per cent, of it being bunkimi. 
Was he disgusted with what had happened 
to him? Say — ^you should have heard him 
curse Germany when no Germans were 
around. 



[98I 



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CHAPTER V 

FAMINE CONDITIONS ON GERMAN FARMS 

Corporal McMullen resumes: 

After I had been in Friedrichsf eld Camp 
about two months and was getting pretty 
well tired of it, there came a change which, 
while it didn't immediately lead to much 
improvement, was a change, and that 
coxmted for a good deal xmder the conditions 
we were experiencing at that time. 

One morning we were wakened at about 
4*30, were put through an inspection to see 
whether we had secreted maps, compasses, 
or anything to aid in escaping, and about 
three hxmdred of us were lined up on the 
parade ground, told we were being taken 
out for farm work, and were given a lecture 
on how we should conduct otu^elves, by a 
German captain. While the captain was 

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OUT OP HUNLAND 

talking, an old general came in. He must 
have been partially deaf for he apparently 
couldn't hear what was being told us, and the 
way he went for that captain was a wonder. 

Then, without any excuse for any kind of 
a breakfast, we were marched down a mile 
and a quarter to a jxmction point and loaded 
on a train. The boys had carried every- 
thing they owned along with them, and, 
since our parcels had started coming in 
fairly regularly then, some of them were 
pretty well loaded. The sentries hurried 
us down that road mighty fast, however, 
and by the time we got to the train there 
was a good deal less on the boys' backs. 
When we got to the train we were ordered, 
fifteen or twenty at a time, into a compart- 
ment. When we objected, because there 
wasn't room, they told us to stand up, say- 
ing that we wotddn't be in long, anyway. 
By this time, you see, we had picked up 
enough German to get along on. Well, we 
were on that train just nine hours, and in 
spite of protests were given neither water 
nor food during that time. 

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FAMINE CONMTIONS;: ::/:/: 

And then, when they did land us we got 
another surprise. Instead of the farm we 
had expected we were marched into Cassel 
Camp. Now that name wouldn't mean 
much to you. To us it was different. We 
had heard how f otu* thousand Russians had 
died in that camp just six months before, 
and when we learned from a few British 
and Canadians who were there, some of 
them since early in 1914, of the bad reputa- 
tion the place had, we were not particularly 
comforted. 

That night we were given two lousy 
blankets apiece and were allotted to small, 
vile huts with leaky canvas roofs. Woof! 
How the animalctdae did worry us in that 
camp! It had been bad enough in the 
trenches, but there we cotdd wash and get 
a change of clothing occasionally. Here 
there was absolutely no opportunity to keep 
oneself clean. 

No supper? Yes, we did have a meal 
that night — the first that day. And very 
nutritious it was, consisting of — stewed 
grass. Now grass might be all right as a 

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:• : :. : -.f.-zOUT .OP-HUNLAND 

side-dish, as greens, when you had some 
good Irish potatoes and beef to go with it, 
but stewed grass alone is — ^weU, nobody 
could eat it except the Russians, a few of 
whom were in the camp, and who seemed 
to have a capacity for anjrthing. 

It was beastly cold that night and along 
about midnight one of the fellows got up, 
tore up a board off the wooden walk, and 
started a fire. He got three days in " black 
cells "for it. 

In the morning we were treated to coffee 
only. During the day some of us were put 
on fatigue, which meant scrubbing and 
cleaning up. We worked most of the day 
with our stomachs fairly twisted up with 
htmger and came back at night to a dinner 
of horsechestnut soup. The chestnuts had 
been boiled and apparently kept for use 
another day. We drank the water because 
it was hot. I don't think the stuff had any 
nourishment. 

That night, to keep our spirits up we 
just had to sing. It went on for a few 
minutes and then ten guards with fixed 

[102] 



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FAMINE CONDITIONS 

bayonets rushed into the huts and laid 
around them with their rifle butts. 

Thank heaven that wasn't to last long. 
Soon parties were made up to be sent out 
to work, some in the salt mines, some in 
the stone quarries. We learned later that 
the fellows sent to the salt mines for some 
reason were all taken very sick and had to 
be sent to the hospital. 

It fell to my lot, however, with six others 
to be sent to a big farm adjacent to the 
village of Waubem, and here we learned 
more than we had been able to previously 
of how terribly the war and the British 
blockade was affecting the German civilians. 
Here, too, we learned something of the bully- 
ing spirit of the German underofl&cer. 

The seven, three of us Canadians, were 
under the charge of a sentry who had for- 
merly been in the Prussian Guard. I sup- 
pose his idea was to treat us as he had been 
treated by those over him. At any rate 
he was a bad actor and certainly had it in 
for us. 

We were given sleeping quarters in the 

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bam but were wakened the first morning 
and given breakfast, consisting of the ever- 
present coffee — ^as it was called though it 
bore mighty little resemblance to any we 
had ever seen before — ^and a small slice of 
sour, black bread full of stones and which 
burnt as though one were eating vitriol. 
Then we were put at our first job of loading 
manure. 

The farm was a good big one, about a 
thousand acres altogether, so that there was 
a good deal of work to do. For two months, 
however, we were kept at that manure job, 
from four in the morning till dark, about 
8 P.M. Think about that for hours, you 
labor men. When we got back to the bam 
we were given a bowl of runkle soup, really 
a concoction of turnips or mangels, princi- 
pally warm water. Later when the roots be- 
came scarce the soup was made from the tops 
only. Work and sleep and be cursed at — 
that was our lot pretty regularly, just then. 

A few instances of this treatment, which 
came almost daily, will explain something 
of the situation. 

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We had one chap in the bunch, Jack 
Hawley, a Sussex man who was not overly 
strong and on whom the prison life had 
been rather hard. One day he was sick, and 
when his complaint was disregarded and he 
refused to work in consequence, but walked 
away from the manure heap, the sentry 
hit him over the head with the butt of his 
rifle so hard that he laid him out. Often 
when we didn't do things just to suit him, 
this chap wotdd club us similarly. We 
often thought we wotdd teach him a lesson 
when opporttmity offered, but decided that 
it wouldn't be any use, since we would prob- 
ably be well ptmished for it and given as 
bad or worse treatment afterward. 

One day the farmer himself came down 
and asked if any one of us cotdd drive. 
One of our own chaps, ''Ginger*' Pope, who 
knew a little about horses, volunteered 
and was put in charge of the team of oxen. 
He was ordered, when the poor, starved 
animals tried helplessly to draw the heavily 
loaded wagon, to hammer them with a stick. 
When he refused, the sentry rushed at him 

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raging, with his bayonet fixed. *' Ginger" 
waited till he was about ten feet away, 
then sidestepped neatly, and the sentry 
fell on his stomach in the mist (mantire). 
Of cotirse he raised a terrible row and was 
about to bayonet the whole bunch when 
the farmer himself came along and quieted 
him down. 

After that things went along a bit easier. 
At this time, though, our parcels were not 
reaching us. Apparently they were not 
being sent on from Friedrichsfeld Camp. 
And on the limited ration things looked 
pretty hopeless. One night we had nothing 
for supper but a little warm water flavored 
with barley and I said to the fellows: "If 
this is all we're going to get we might as 
well go oflF and die. I won't be able to 
stand it much longer." Next morning the 
sentry woke us up with his yell of ^'Auf- 
stehenf' at a quarter to four. He, with 
another guard, slept downstairs and we 
above. We said: *'Jah! Jah!" but nobody 
moved. After a little while the sentry 
came up, pulled what little coverings we 

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FAMINE CONDITIONS 

had off us, and hit Pope over the head, 
laying him out for the day, and used us all 
pretty roughly. This led to one thing and 
another till later on one of the chaps, Salter, 
who had been threatened, hit the sentry a 
terrific crack over the jaw with a pitchfork. 
We were all taken bade to the barrack and 
deprived of any ration. Next morning, 
Salter was locked in a small box affair and 
the rest of us were ordered off to work, but 
we refused to go without Salter. *'Well," 
the sentry said, "if you won't work, you 
won't get anything to eat." So we were 
kept all day again with absolutely nothing. 
In some way the condition of affairs got to 
the ears of the ofl&cials in the neighboring 
camp and a sergeant-major came out and 
went into it. He seemed to be a very decent 
sort and accepted our versions of the affair 
against the word of the sentry who was 
severely raked over the coals. When this 
ofl&cer seemed somewhat S3mipathetic to- 
ward us, we told him of the food we were, 
or rather were not, getting. He said he was 
sorry but that to remedy the matter was 

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beyond him, since everyone else was in the 
same fix. 

About then, however, when we all were 
about dead from starvation, our parcels 
began to come and that saved the situation 
for us. These chirped up our spirits a bit 
and three of the chaps. Pope, Pike, and 
Samuels, arranged to try for a getaway. 
One of them had managed somehow to 
bring out a map and a compass under his 
arm or between his legs and they saved up 
stuflF from their parcels for the trip. One 
night when we came in from the fields, they 
said they didn't want any supper. The 
sentry locked them in while he went over 
to the farm house with the rest of us, but 
when we came back they were gone. 

If this escape did nothing else it relieved 
us of that brute sentry. Of course he re- 
ported the escapes to the camp. He was 
called in and another man sent in his 
place, and we learned afterward that he was 
court-martialled and given pretty severe 
punishment. 

Those poor chaps weren't able to get far. 

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Of course it was easy to trace the prisoners 
by reason of their marked uniforms. They 
wandered round for three days and then 
were caught and brought back to Cassel 
Camp where they were given twenty-one 
days "black" (black cells), with the ration 
limited to 250 grammes of bread a day. 
We happened to be at the camp when Pike 
was let out, but would scarcely have known 
him. The confinement and starvation had 
changed him terribly and affected him so 
seriously that he went into a decline. 

The new sentry was a little easier on us 
and gave us a little freedom. Then with 
our parcels coming and with a few apples 
and potatoes we managed to steal occasion- 
ally we were getting along better. How- 
ever, on the 4th of November, for some 
reason we were taken back to Cassel Camp. 

At this time conditions in that camp were 
a good deal worse than we had found them 
before, if that seems possible. We were 
better off for food because we were getting 
some parcels, but the Russians and some 
Belgian civilians who had been brought in 

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OUT OP HUNLAND 

were in bad shape. The Germans claimed 
that their men being held as prisoners in 
Russia were being badly treated and in con- 
sequence, they took it out on the Russians 
in their hands. The Belgians had been 
ordered to work at munitions, but had 
refused absolutely and so were brought in 
to this camp. Since they were civilians, 
it was out of the question for the Red Cross 
to do anything for them. Their ration was 
two bowls of soup so-called — ^really it was 
only heated water with enough solid matter 
to color it — ^per day. They got no bread 
ration and nothing else. Poor fellows! At 
night they used to climb up on the fence 
separating the compounds and call over to 
us asking for help. We gave them what 
we could, taking up a collection regularly 
for them and putting this in a bag which we 
hung on the fence where one of them could 
climb over to get it. After a little they dug 
a ttumel through and tmdemeath the fence 
and came through that way. The Rus- 
sians, although they were almost starving, 
themselves, certainly did all they cotdd to 

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d 

OS 






U 



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0) 

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FAMINE CONDITIONS 

help them, and used to come arotmd and 
beg bits from us for these Belgians. And 
just here we got some new light on the Rus- 
sians. The chaps in that camp, although 
they were unlettered, were good-natured 
fellows with big, friendly hearts. We could 
see how they had been oppressed before 
the war and under the circimastances it 
wasn't much wonder they hated the thought 
of war. They had been forced away from 
their homes and even then had absolutely 
no idea of what it was all about or who was 
concerned in it. After seeing these chaps 
I can easily tmderstand how conditions in 
Russia are as they are just now. 

There were a ntmaber of French in the 
camp also, but somehow they did not im- 
press us so favorably. They were much 
better fed than any of us, getting forty or 
fifty biscuits, like pancakes, a week. They 
would fill these flat biscuits with water 
through a hole in the top and when they 
were put on the stove they would swell 
up, making a fairly decent meal. They 
seemed to be pretty self -centered though, 

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OUT OP HUNLAND 

and paid little attention to the starving 
Belgians. 

Shortly after we got in, tjrphus got a hold 
on these Belgians, and, as rtdght be ex- 
pected under these conditions, carried them 
off rapidly. Almost any day, at certain 
times, we cotdd go down to the gate of the 
camp and see them carry out six or seven 
of tiie poor beggars who wouldn't suffer 
any more. One day we cotmted fotirteen. 

Along in December it began to get ter- 
ribly cold, and since no regular provision 
was made for heating any part of the prison- 
ers' camp this intensified our troubles. It 
was possible to buy coal in briquette form 
for about $i.6o per hundred pounds, but 
of course none of us had any quantity of 
money so this didn't help us much. Just 
about then, too, there were very heavy 
falls of snow, about like we got here this 
year in January. There was at least two 
feet of it all over the camp and some places 
when we were working outside the camp 
we had to wade up to our necks. One night 
during this cold snap I was put, with a num- 

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FAMINE CONDITIONS 

ber of other Canaxlians, in a hut containing 
some French. When we went to bed the 
air was thick, and of course our fellows 
wanted the windows open. Not so the 
French, They wanted things kept closed 
up. And all that night there was a sort of 
race, our fellows opening up and the French- 
men closing down those windows. 

With all this we were not sorry when on 
the ninth of January we were lined up — 
eighty-seven English and Canadians, fifty 
French, and about a hundred Russians, and 
told that we were to be taken back to 
Friedrichsfeld. The French started off 
with their kits all loaded up as usual, but 
when it was found that we had to march 
about four miles to a jtmction point instead 
of getting the train, as expected, at a sid- 
ing, there was some considerable sacrificing 
of kit material. We came along a little 
after the French and were rather amxised 
at the trail of abandoned material all along 
the way. 

We were packed into that train about 
nine a.m., after an early start from the 

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OUT OP HUNLAND 

camp, and travelled till seven that night 
without food or water. That time we 
followed a different route than formerly, 
which brought us through the town of 
Essen, where we could see from the train 
the many stacks and some of the buildings 
of the great Krupp works. We got some 
cheer here, though, for the train guards 
were good enough to tell us that some of 
the AUied aviators had bombed part of the 
works the night before, had done consider- 
able damage and had killed a ntmaber of 
German mimition workers. Naturally, they 
were not feeling particularly elated over it. 
As we came through another town, Over- 
hausen, we were singing ' ' The Maple Leaf ' ' 
and other familiar songs. Here there were 
girls and children on the platform, with 
beer and wine. At first they took ours, by 
reason of the singing, I guess, for a regular 
troop train, and we were rather jubilant 
when it looked as if we were going to be 
treated. When they saw who we were, 
however, they soon disappeared. The sta- 
tion master here tried to get the military 

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FAMINE CONDITIONS 

police to stop our singing. They tried. 
That's all it amounted to. 

We arrived at Friedrichsf eld about seven 
o'clock that night so used up that quite a 
few of the men fell down when forced to 
march the mile or so to the camp. When 
they were unable to get up when ordered, 
the sentries clubbed them till somehow or 
other they struggled to their feet and kept 
moving. It was almost more than we 
could stand to see this but what could we 
do? 

The life at Friedrichsfeld was about the 
same as formerly. In regard to one thing, 
however, we soon found a change, and it 
was significant as illustrating how short 
certain kinds of materials were becoming 
in the country. Previously we were able 
to do about as we pleased with the stuff in 
our parcels. Now when the parcels arrived 
all the canned stuff was taken out, and, 
after being marked with a distinguishing 
number, was placed in a special store room. 
When we wanted any of this stuff we had 
to take our basins down there and the cans 

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OUT OP HUNLAND 

were opened in the presence of a German 
ofl&cer. One reason for this precaution 
perhaps was that the French people had 
been sending an occasional conapass in the 
cans which came in to their men. After 
these tins were emptied, however^ they 
were carefully stored in a pile. At regular 
intervals the accumulation was hammered 
down flat and then shipped away to a 
smelting works. 

While my wotmd was still bothering me 
a good deal, I was in rather better shape 
this time than when in the camp before. 
Besides I had picked up by this time enough 
German to get along very fairly on and so 
was able to talk with the sentries in the 
camp. In that way we got considerable 
information — and sometimes other things, 
as will shortly reveal itself. 

Remember that this was a noilitary train- 
ing center as well as a prisoners' camp. At 
that time there were stationed there several 
thousand men who had been on the Eastern 
front, being retrained for service on the 
Western front. Prom the camp we could see 

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•° 3 

£ g 
.a 

a 

o 

I 

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§ 



s 



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FAMINE CONDITIONS 

their training grotmd, and it was amusing 
to see the officers trying to get some idea 
of extended-order work into the heads of 
these fellows who had had mass-formation 
fighting ground into them as the only pro- 
cedure. And in this we fotmd out some- 
thing of the methods of the German Army. 
It seemed to be a system of oppression. 
The «ier-officers, for instance, made it 
mighty warm for the captains, and they 
took it out on the subalterns. They passed 
the same treatment along. When it came 
down to the poor privates you can imagine 
how things were. It was a shame the way 
they treated the men. Why, we have re- 
peatedly seen a corporal knock flat with his 
rifle a private who was apparently doing 
the best he cotdd but was perhaps a little 
stupid. Then he would kick him till he 
got up and into the line again. This was 
not an tmusual occurrence but happened 
daily. Say, if anything like that happened 
in the Canadian troops there*d be a mutiny 
in a minute. 

These soldiers in training had to take their 

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OUT OP HUNLAND 

turns as sentries in the prison camp and in 
that way we got a chance to talk to them oc- 
casionally. One chap I remember particu- 
larly, because he seemed more intelligent 
than the usual nm, was a Bavarian me- 
chanic. Though only a boy, about twenty- 
two, he had seen two years of service against 
the Russians. And he was fed up with the 
fighting game. ''What's the use of us 
fighting?*' he answered, when I asked him 
what he thought about the general outlook. 
''We may carry on two or three years 
longer, but we have no food and in the end 
the world will be against the Fatherland. I 
might as well die now as go through any 
more of this." Just then a corporal passed 
and scowled at him. After a minute or two, 
when he got a chance to speak to me again, 
he said: "Look at that. I'm three times 
cleverer than he is, but he can lord it over 
me because he has a little military pull." 
He went on to tell me that he had served 
as batmaii to three different officers but that 
was nothing but downright slavery. Their 
officers' servants stu-ely had a terrible life. 

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Almost any of the private soldiers wotdd 
speak in the same way. Often, even at 
the risk of being overheard and severely 
pimished they wotdd say to us: "The war 
is no good. The Kaiser is crazy." It 
looked as if they didn't care whether they 
died or not. 

It must have made them think funny 
things, too, when they saw how we prisoners 
were dressed in comparison to themselves. 
These fellows were in very bad shape for 
clothing and their uniforms appeared to be 
made up from half a dozen old ones and 
patched into the bargain. Their boots, too, 
were worn out and many of them had been 
resoled with wood. When this got wet and 
the glue softened they used to split up and 
cause them a lot of trouble. Again, they 
had no socks but used cotton foot rags and 
as a result of this and the poor boots their 
feet were in terrible shape. 

As against this we were well off. Most 
of us had recently had clothing parcels 
from the Red Cross, containing fine heavy 
uniforms, a good supply of thick woolen 

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OUT OP HUNLAND 

socks, and heavy English boots. You can 
imagine how they must have felt. 

And it is these fellows who are going to 
make the epoch-making drive on the West- 
em front this spring. Can you see it? We 
can't. 

Occasionally they used to come in and 
try to buy our socks, also our soap. By 
this time soap had practically disappeared 
in Germany. I can remember the sentries 
used to watch us wash in the morning, 
looking at the suds. One chap in particu- 
lar used to come along and rub the water 
between his fingers before we threw it out 
as though he didn't believe it was soap 
suds. 

It's really a wonder we weren't killed 
half a dozen times for we used to jolly these 
poor chaps outrageously. '' Is there lots of 
soap in England?" they would ask* And 
when we would, of course, answer '*Yes," 
they would say, rather disgustedly: ''No 
soap in Germany. Everything all gone. 
No meat. No bread. No potatoes. Every- 
body's crazy in Germany." When we 

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FAMINE CONDITIONS 

rubbed it in they didn't seem to mind very 
much. As a matter of fact they were so 
cowed and disgusted with the whole matter 
of the war they hadn't enough spirit to 
make any move. The individuality and 
spirit had all been hammered out of them. 

One day I was outside the camp at some 
special work and saw the soldiers' rations 
issued. These provided for 250 grammes 
of bread, about half a pound, part of which 
was to be kept for breakfast the following 
day, a bowl of soup at noon, coffee served 
at four P.M., and for the evening meal one 
small herring, served at about five p.m. 
With them it was a crime to eat all the 
bread ration at once as we did. Think of 
a British Tommy existing on such a ration 
or putting up with such a regulation. 

Our day's food at the time consisted of 
180 grammes of bread, a hunk about four 
inches square by an inch and a half thick, 
with a bowl of mangel soup. This bread, 
though, was "War Prisoners' Bread," as 
described before, and was a very different 
article to that fed the soldiers, bad enough 

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as it was. When our parcels came regu- 
larly, however, we were really a good deal 
better off than they were. The French 
got practically the same as we. The Rus- 
sians subsisted at that time on the peelings 
of the mangels that went to make up our 
soup. More retaliation, you see. 



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CHAPTER VI 

AN ATTEMPTED ESCAPE 

Corporal McMullen continues: 

Along in the spring of 191 7 some of us 
began to get about all we could stand of 
camp life, and after talking it over, decided 
that nothing else could be much worse, 
that it was worth taking a chance to strike 
something better, and that if we got outside 
we would at least have the likelihood of 
picking up a little more food. I had been 
able to get hold of a map of northern Ger- 
many and a compass, these coming from 
one of the German sentries, in return for 
a pot of jam. That will illustrate how 
badly oflf they were when that chap was 
willing to risk his life — ^he would certainly 
have been shot if he had been found out — 
by trading these things for a comparatively 

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OUT OP HUNLAND 

insignificant amount of food. So with 
three other corporals and four privates, all 
of whom were looking for a chance to get 
away, we volunteered for farm work and 
were taken down to a little village called 
Stockum bei Langendreer, passing through 
Essen again on the way down. Here we were 
lodged in what was known as Commando 
529, really an old stone carpenter shop or 
planing mill, from which the machinery had 
been removed. We got there before we 
were expected and, since no arrangements 
had been made, were led in to sleep on the 
cold stone floor. Gee, it was cold! Here 
Salter and I were picked by a man, named 
Becker, a small farmer, who turned out to 
be one of the worst slave-drivers I can im- 
agine anyone getting under the control of. 
We f otmd out here how short the food 
supply really was in Germany. This was 
between harvests, of course, and about the 
worst time of the year for them. We 
learned, also, something of the astoimding 
control the military authorities exercise, 
particularly over the agricultural class, 

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AN ATTEMPTED ESCAPE 

At first Becker was very decent and we 
thought we were in for a better time, but 
this treatment lasted only shortly. When 
he asked our names and I told him mine 
was Fred, he said: " Ach, Fritz, eh?'' You 
can imagine how I liked th^t, and he kept 
on calling me that as long as he had any- 
thing to do with me. 

At first we were set to the same job we 
had had on the other farm, spreading man- 
ure. Salter was a touchy beggar, and when 
Becker began to abuse us a little unduly 
Salter would get balky and refuse to work. 
One day he hit Becker with his fist. In a 
ndnute or two the big brute came along 
with a chain trace and was going to lay 
Salter out, but he grabbed a pitchfork and 
went for him. As a result, Salter was sent 
back to Friedrichsf eld and tried for attack- 
ing a civilian. Becker sent up a lot of 
false testimony which somehow didn't seem 
to count for much. Some little time later 
they sent for me to testify in the case, which 
somehow blew over without much happen- 
ing to anybody. 

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On the farm were a number of cattle and 
horses, all showing the effects of lack of 
nutrition. Several of the cows were milk- 
ers, and Becker was forced to keep them in 
fairly good shape and to sell the milk to a 
certain ntunber of families in the village. 
He had to get a required amount of milk 
out of these cows, too, or there was trouble. 
No, there were no milkmen. Every family 
had to send for its own supply, which was 
strictly limited. Becker used to rail at 
the close miUtary supervision and it wasn't 
any wonder. For instance every crop on 
his farm was specified and, furthermore, 
how much acreage should be devoted to 
that crop. And even then he couldn't by 
any means count that crop his own. If, for 
example, he sowed forty acres in wheat or 
oats, it was stipulated that eighteen bushels 
from every acre should be sold to the gov- 
enmient. Of course he might raise as 
much as possible above this amount, but 
even then he could not sell a bushel with- 
out an order from the government ofl&cial. 
To us it seemed absurd, as another instance 

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AN ATTEMPTED ESCAPE 

will perhaps show better. One day, Becker 
wanted to kill a pig out of some twenty- 
two he was raising, so as to get some meat 
for his family. Before he could stick a 
knife into it he had to get an order of per- 
mission from the gendarme, or military 
representative, in the village. These gen- 
darmes were well groimded in military pro- 
cedure for they were mostly non-coms, too 
old for active service. To qualify for this 
service, they must have had at least twelve 
years of nwlitary service. Why, even the 
policeman in Germany must have at least 
six years' experience in the army before he 
can be appointed. Even when this permit- 
to-kill was secured, the product was not 
by any means to be considered his own. 
Of that pig a part had to be given to the 
gendarme, a part sent for the use of the 
army, and the remainder — about one-fourth 
— ^had to be divided up with three or four 
other families. Oh, they regulate things 
nicely in Germany, all right. 

This system was carried out even further 
when thkigs looked bad. In July that year, 

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when there seemed to be mighty little pro- 
duce of any kind left on that fann, it was 
visited by a military party, who were doing 
similar inspection through the whole of 
that district, which confiscated practically 
everything Becker had. Out of eighteen 
pigs, for instance, they took away ten, and 
mighty poor-looking specimens they were, 
at that. He had what he thought would 
be a scant supply of turnips to keep things 
going — cattle and htunans — ^till harvest, 
but out of this supply the party took 
away about forty loads. Becker was 
paid for this, yes, but in war money, 
which at that time was about as good 
as Confederate bills at the end of the 
United States Civil War. I can remem- 
ber how Becker's wife and one or two 
other women on the farm bellowed and 
wrung their hands the morning that stuff 
was taken away. 

We learned, incidentally, how short the 
army was. For instance, the allowance of 
oats to horses in the British army is ten 
pounds. In the German army it is two 

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AN ATTEMPTED ESCAPE 

pounds, and at that time I doubt if they 
were getting any oats at all. 

By reason of the food in our parcels we 
were living just then better than the Ger- 
mans themselves. That certainly applied 
in that district anyway. I remember one 
time Becker watched me open one of my 
parcels which the mail had just brought in. 
In the box was a paper bag, containing 
about a potmd of granulated sugar. This 
had been broken and in tmpacking it I 
spilled about half a teaspoonful on the 
earth floor of the bam. It was rather 
amusing to see Becker get down and pick 
up that sugar, grain by grain. The kiddies 
got to know that our parcels brought us 
chocolate and often they would beg some 
of it from us. It used to break our hearts 
to see these little children suffering so with 
hunger and we gave them what we could, 
but that was nighty little. 

After Salter left I got mighty lonesome, 
and when Becker kept on driving me, made 
up my mind to have a try to get away. 
Of course we had lots of chances to break 

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OUT OP HUNLAND 

away from the farm, since while we were 
fairly closely watched there were times 
when we would be working alone. Since 
we were in prisoners' clothes, however, and 
the country was very closely settled, it was 
very difl&cult for anyone to make the break 
and get far, as we afterward discovered. 
Of course, almost every farmer was using 
one or more prisoners and was armed. 
Provision was made that he might shoot 
at sight if any attempt was made. And 
a good-sized reward was offered for the 
apprehending of any escaped prisoner. So 
that the thing wasn't as easy as it might 
look. 

However, I had been able to get hold of 
a little "good" money by selling an extra 
pair of boots to one of the civilians, and had 
also scared up a sort of half-suit of civilian 
clothes, and on the night of May 20th, 
while the sentries were sleeping below, 
Private Hart and I got out of the commando, 
where we were all brought at night, after 
the day's work on the various farms, 
through a fanlight and, after a drop of 

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thirty-five feet which stirred up my wound 
a good deal and also sprained my ankle, 
managed to make the break. We had been 
saving up what food we could for some time, 
and took away with us two tins of bully 
beef, some biscuits, and a little chocolate. 

We managed to get through the bush 
and wandered around during the night for 
three days, making as near as we could 
figure, towards the Dutch border. The 
third day, though, we got rather badly oflf 
for water and after getting lost for two or 
three hours in a big bush we hit the city 
of Recklinghausen. By that time we were 
pretty well fagged out and didn't care much 
what happened, so decided to take a chance. 
We made a break right through the town, 
passing two or three parties of soldiers and 
officers and looking for a drinking foimtain. 
Finally we came on the main street to a 
sort of club room and decided that, come 
what may, we simply had to have something 
to drink. We went into a big room where 
what seemed to be a bartender and a mana- 
ger were sitting around and got two or 

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three drinks of beer. By this time; you 
see, we could understand German fairly 
well and could talk enough to get us 
through, tmless they threw the questions 
at us rapidly. We wanted something to 
eat in the worst way, but of course we had 
no food cards as supplied to the German 
civilians, so knew there was no chance. 

We got through Recklinghausen all right, 
all the time nearly dead for water, and got 
along the road a little farther to a small 
town named Houles, a sort of suburb. 
Here a chap passed who looked at us rather 
queerly but said nothing. We thought he 
was suspicious so got along as fast as pos- 
sible. We had just gotten outside the town, 
however, when looking back we saw two 
huge, dogs, like Russian wolf-hoimds, com- 
ing behind us. I knew then that these 
must be police dogs. You see there were 
very few dogs of any other kind left by 
that time. When they came up to us, one 
of them grabbed Hart and gave him a nasty 
bite on the leg. I side-stepped, but saw I 
couldn't get away and as we had nothing 

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to defend ourselves with there was nothing 
for it but to stand still. When we were 
quiet they let go of us but stood watching 
us closely. In a minute a gendarme came 
along on a bicycle. 

' ' Are you prisoners ? " he asked. 

"English?" he asked again, when we 
replied. The answer ^^Englische schweine- 
hunde,*^ which came left no doubts of his 
opinion of us or of the race. 

It appeared that the chap who had passed 
us in the town was an electrician who was 
working among the prisoners constantly and 
thus had spotted us. 

We were marched without ceremony 
back to the neighboring prisoners' barrack 
and searched. They thought they did it 
carefully, but I had been able to tuck the 
map away into my sock and rammed the 
compass back into my cheek. Then we 
were lodged in ''strafe cells." Beautiful 
spots they were. I found myself incarcer- 
ated with a big Russian in an apartment 
about three feet wide by six feet six inches 
long with absolutely no provision for sit- 

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ting or lying down. Contif ortable. I should 
say. 

That night I was rather surprised to hear 
someone speak to me in English and in 
a moment the door opened. And thereby 
hangs what seemed to be rather a good joke. 
The cell doors were fastened by rather 
primitive sliding bolts. The door of one 
of the half-dozen cells in that section of 
the barrack was a little looser than the 
others. In this cell had been lodged a 
rather enterprising chap, named Blacklock, 
a Canadian boy, by the way, from Carbon, 
Alta. He discovered that by some juggling 
he could force back the bolt and open his 
door. That done it was easy for him to 
open the others. We could hear the guards, 
who stayed in another compartment, com- 
ing from a little distance off, and while it 
wasn't easy to get past them, it was a good 
deal more comfortable out in the corridor 
with the immediate sense of partial freedom 
than in those three-foot cells. So while 
we were there I got to know '*Blackie" 
pretty well. He, too, had been caught 

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during an attempted escape but was aim- 
ing to try again right away. So I gave 
him the compass. 

After a few days Hart and I with a num- 
ber of others were taken back to Friedrichs- 
feld for trial. Here we were brought before 
a military court, consisting of a captain 
and four officers and spoke through a ser- 
geant-interpreter. When asked why we 
had tried to escape we told them of the 
conditions on the farms and particularly 
outlining Becker's treatment. When we 
got through the presiding officer said: "All 
right," and we thought we were going to 
get off easily. Next day, however, the order 
came for a penalty to each of us of twenty- 
one days in the black cells. 

That punishment was given, I suppose, 
to make certain that those who received 
it would not try the same thing again. A 
good many of the lads who experienced it 
didn't. It surely was enough to break a 
man's nerve as well as what health he had 
left after the treatment we had been getting. 
Imagine spending three weeks in a damp, 



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OUT OF HXJNLAND 

absolutely dark and silent cell, with abso- 
lutely no provision for sitting or sleeping, 
given but a few minutes morning and even- 
ing to get water for the intervening hours 
and to stretch one's legs a little and with all 
this to be cut down to a ration of bread and 
water. The spell usually handed out to a 
private was fotuteen days. They went on 
the principle, I suppose, that a corporal 
was such a superior being, he ought to know 
better and so his pimishment was greater. 

Two hundred and fifty grammes of war 
prisoners' bread per day with a bowl of 
thin soup every third day was supposed to 
keep a man alive for that twenty-one days. 
In addition to this there was no chance of 
any commimication with any other prisoner. 
I think this enforced silence was the worst 
of all. Anyway the sensations and the help- 
less feelings this treatment inspires are 
impossible to describe. 

At that I guess I was better off than most 
of them. I had sewed a supply of cut to- 
bacco up in the lining of my greatcoat 
and been able to keep my pipe hidden in a 

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fold of my cap. They had taken^ all my 
matches, however, and there was consider- 
able of a problem there. By this time, 
however, I knew what wotdd get to the 
heart of the sentry quickest. I had kept 
some soap, also in my coat lining, cut up 
in cubes about half an inch square. The 
guard was simply tickled to death to trade 
me a small box of matches for one or 
two of these small cubes. That helped 
wonderfully. 

I lost twenty poimds, I guess, in that 
three weeks, and when the end finally came 
and they let me out into the light I was so 
dizzy I could hardly stand up. However, 
I got a great welcome when I got back 
to the English barracks and found waiting 
for me there several Red Cross parcels. 
Gosh, how welcome they were! I don't 
think food — ^real food — ever tasted better. 

For a week things went along better and 
then, like a shot from the blue, came an 
order — ^to go back to Becker, who had asked 
for me. 

You can fancy I wanted to go about as 

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much as a rat likes a trap but tnere was 
nothing else for it. Neither Hart nor I 
had given up the idea of getting away, how- 
ever, and during that week we had been 
lucky in getting hold of another compass 
and a splendid map — ^both by the soap 
exchange method. That map was a dandy. 
It looked to me as though it must have 
been made for the benefit of just such chaps 
as us. Not only did it show the towns, 
villages, and roads, but it gave every rail- 
road, bridge, patch of woods, swamp, and 
even where every farmer lived. With this 
we felt that chances were better. Of course 
we were not yet away with these helpftd 
accessories. When we knew we were going 
I put it up to Hart to carry the compass 
while I himg on to the map. He got it 
through in his mouth some way, and while 
he was closely examined, as we expected, 
managed to get away with it. After a 
good deal of planning, I decided to stow the 
map inside an old cracked looking-glass I 
carried. We knew if they caught us with 
either it would mean twenty-one days more 

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in "black/* perhaps worse. When it came 
my turn and I was told to turn out every- 
thing, I passed over the looking-glass 
as carelessly as possible. The inspector 
handled this mighty carefully, even going 
so far as to tmwind some of the old string 
I had arotmd it. I was on pins and needles 
for a minute, for the map was folded be- 
tween the glass itself and the wooden back, 
and he wotdd have found it sure if he had 
tmwrapped it. Good fortune stepped in 
for once, however, for after a minute or 
two he tossed it back to me. Gee! I was 
almost afraid he'd hear me breathe with 
relief. 

Well, we got on down to Stocktrai again 
and this time fotmd things considerably 
better. It was harvest time, you see, there 
was more food to be had, and besides we 
were able to swipe more stuff. But how 
Becker did shove me at that harvest. Up 
before dawn, work till dark with only a 
few minutes at noon. He certainly got all 
he paid for out of me just then. I was 
able to do more than I had been before, too, 

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for with more food my strength began to 
comeback. Say, it was great! Imagine being 
put out to harvest ripe wheat after living on 
what we had put up with for over a year. 
Why I used to eat wheat all day. The vege- 
tables were being brought in then, too, and 
we were able to get good supplies of carrots, 
onions, beets, and potatoes and make up a 
J^aighty good vegetable stew in the canton- 
ment after the guards were asleep. I tell 
you we were living like kings just then. 

And with returning strength I guess I 
began to get a little cocky. Becker wasn't 
so bad at first, but as the weeks went by, 
his wild temper returned and he began at 
his old tactics. Finally one day out in the 
field he ordered me to do something beyond 
my strength and when I refused came at 
me with a whip. I held him up with a 
pitchfork and for a while we had it pretty 
hot and heavy. That night he reported 
to the guard that I had refused to work. 
I guess the guard xmderstood the situation 
— Becker's reputation was pretty well- 
known arotmd those parts — ^for in two or 

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three days I was transferred to a fanner 
named Speck. This old chap certainly 
used me well. I had all the vegetables I 
wanted to eat, about the same as the family 
had, and the hours and the work were both 
easier. For hours at a time I would be left 
alone in the fields with absolutely no super- 
vision. It would seem that this would 
have been a good time to make a break for 
it, but I did not want to go alone and be- 
sides I knew it was almost useless to try 
to get very far with my prisoner's marked 
suit on. I had tried to get hold of some 
civilian clothes but cotddn't manage it. 
However, I talked it over with Hart, who 
was on another farm, and finally decided 
to have another try at it the next Sunday 
night. We chose Sunday to hs-ve the bene- 
fit of the day's rest. Even yet my wound 
bothered me a good deal after a long day's 
work and I didn't want to make matters 
any more troublesome than necessary. 

That was last October, the first day of 
the month. And I don't think I will ever 
forget that night. 

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While Hart and I had been scouting 
around the commando — ^you will remember 
I said this was a big stone building which 
had been used as a planing mill before the 
war — ^we found one day a loose trap door 
in the floor of an tmused room, beside the 
one the sentries slept in. Without telling 
anyone, we had gotten that door up and 
had dropped down to see what lay below, 
one of us remaining on guard above while 
the other was below. We foimd that this 
trap gave entrance to a shaft or ttmnel 
filled with sawdust, shavings, and lumber 
cuttings. Gradually we got this passage 
cleaned out and found that it was about 
forty feet long, and ran below another trap 
door in a different part of the building. 
Evidently this had been used as a sort of 
shaft — chousing to carry power under the 
floor from one part of the building to the 
other. Anyway, we got ourselves pretty 
well acquainted with it so that we could 
get through in the dark, and also got a 
dozen or so screws out of the window in the 
outside room. 

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That night we managed to get our kit- 
bags downstairs and in the shaft before the 
sentry saw us up to bed, and then about 
half -past one we got up and with oiu: boots 
in oiu: hands, started down that wooden 
stairs. You can imagine we didn't take 
any chances of making the treads creak. 
We stepped mighty carefully, placing our 
weight gradually at the supported edge of 
the tread. When we got down, though, 
we had to practically walk over those two 
sleeping sentries. Talk about your heart 
being in your mouth. I think it got up 
somewhere in the top of my head that night 
and didn't get down again till I got safely 
into Holland. 

Well, somehow or other we got down that 
first trap door. I remember how mad I 
was at Hart who let the door down after 
him with quite a little slap. I suppose it 
wasn't much or it would surely have wakened 
those gtiards, but at the time it seemed 
like the explosion of a sixty-potmder to me. 
From that on was easy, even though we had 
to open that window, get through, close it 

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afterward, and get across a nasty bit of 
barbed wire which was careftilly planted 
all around the commando. However, we 
got off without seeing anybody and that 
night travelled about ten or twelve kilos. 
We wanted to go farther but realized the 
need of good cover during the day. You 
see, we were still in our prisoners' tmiforms, 
though we had a sweater coat pulled on over 
the coat, and a coat we had each gotten 
from England and which had escaped mark- 
ing, over that. Our trousers were still 
banded, though, and we knew if anybody 
looked at us at all carefully they would 
soon spot us as prisoners. Thus, as we 
appreciated thoroughly, it was necessary 
to travel only at night and then to keep 
away from roads as much as possible. 

Somewhere along before dawn we struck 
what looked like a good-sized bush and 
thought we had better lay up there. You 
see, one of the difficulties of the situation 
was finding suitable cover while it was still 
dark to hide in for the day. This time we 
got settled down and didn't find out till 

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it was daylight and too late to move that 
we were only a few feet away from a fre- 
quently used path. We were in a sort of 
fern bed, from which we could look out but 
which it was difficult for anyone to see 
through. During the day two men and a 
boy passed on the path not more than 
twelve feet away. That was the first of 
some nighty close shaves. They seemed 
so at first. We got used to such things 
after a little while. 

It got dark early at that time of the year 
and that night we got started about 7.30. 
Since the roads seemed to be a good deal 
used at night we struck across through the 
country by compass, travelling through the 
fields most of the time. About 3 a.m., we 
came out of a patch of woods the map 
showed to be near Recklinghausen, and 
around the side of a small motmtain till 
we struck the River Lippe. There was no 
bridge here and we couldn't cross the river 
because Hart couldn't swim so we decided 
to follow the road. Coming around a bend 
we saw a house' with a bright light in 

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one of the windows. By this time we were 
tired and wanted some water, so we thought 
we'd scout arotmd the place to try to locate 
a well. Who do you think that house be- 
longed to? Well, when we got up within 
eyeshot of the window who did we see but 
a gendarme writing at a table, probably 
making out some of the dozens of reports 
those fellows have to hand in to the govern- 
ment, in uniform and helmet, and with 
a rifle beside him. No thank you. We 
decided to look elsewhere for a drink. 

Our map showed a bridge somewhere in 
this district and about two miles farther 
we fotmd it. Just in front of it, however, 
were three big steam rollers, just about 
like we use here, which had been evidently 
used during the day in roadmaking. One 
or two lights indicated some one around. 
We crawled up mighty carefully, and by 
listening learned that there were three watch- 
men. We knew that most of the bridges 
were guarded and hardly knew what to do 
but since we had to get on, finally we skirted 
the rollers, got up quietly to the bridge 

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approaches and made a dash over. It's a 
wonder there wasn't a guard somewhere 
rotmd on the other side. P'raps there 
was. However, we got across without 
stirring up any trouble. 

A quarter of a mile farther on we hit a 
railway, which our map showed ran into 
Haltem, a good-sized railway center. We 
scented the possibility of trouble here, with 
trains passing all the time, so skirted the 
place, going through some of the thinly- 
settled suburbs. On the other side of the 
town we hit a road we thought was the 
right one by the map, which showed two 
roads, one running to the right, the other 
to the left. As it happened, we hit a bend 
in the road running to the right and think- 
ing it was the one we wanted, started along 
it and followed it till midnight, when from 
a few landmarks shown on the map we 
knew we were astray. That road led right 
into Dulman camp, only a short distance 
away, where Jack spent several weeks of 
his time. 

Finally, after a good deal of trouble we 

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got across the country to the right road, 
and coming suddenly round a bend which 
hid anything ahead, found ourselves, be- 
fore we even dreamed of it, in the outskirts 
of another city, — ^the name, somehow I can't 
remember. There were some people stand- 
ing on the road here, and we knew if they 
had seen us and we started back they 
would suspect something, so there was 
nothing to do but to pike along. And 
along we went, right through the main 
street of that town — a good-sized place, 
too, about fifteen thousand, I should think 
— ^under the electric lights and passed lighted 
stores and houses. Shortly after we got 
into the place we stliick a trolley track 
and a little farther on a knot of people was 
standing, apparently waiting for a car. 
We shoved right past them and while the 
red stripes on our trousers and our special 
hats should have spotted us in a second, 
nobody seemed to notice us. You can 
imagine we had some creepy feelings, 
though. Several times I saw myself back 
in those black cells at Friedrichsfeld again. 

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We were a little anxious, too, when after 
passing a policeman, coming up through a 
subway, and passing along perhaps fifty 
yards, we saw a sentry marching up and 
down a beat on the opposite side of the 
street. We foimd later that this was a 
"Gefangenlager," or prison camp, right in 
the town, which housed a number of prison- 
ers who were working in two or three of 
the town's factories. Probably some of our 
own fellows were sleeping up just above the 
street there as we went past. That sentry 
seemed to eye us up and down and we thought 
the goose was cooked all right and that 
there'd be nothing left but the gravy, but 
somehow or other the shadows must have 
hidden us. There was a big arc light just 
there too. Anyhow, we got past him. 

A littje farther along we met a boy who 
for some reason or other followed us for a 
long piece. Hart said: "That kid's spot- 
ted us. He's going to give us away." I 
said: ''We'd better pike on, anyway." We 
hardly liked to look behind but couldn't 
resist the temptation, and I can tell you, 

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we were mightjly relieved when that lad 
turned down into a side alley as though 
he had been making for it all the time. 

It began to get light when we got well 
out of the town so it was up to us to htmt 
for cover. There wasn't any bush any- 
where round so when we came to a turn 
with an embankment over the road at one 
side, we decided to try it up there, parti- 
cularly as we heard a wagon comiQg along 
the road. At one spot there were a few 
bushes and while we were all right so far 
as being seen from the road was concerned, 
we knew we could be seen from any of the 
fields around. We fotmd a shallow ditch 
just behind the embankment and for lack 
of anythiQg better, got down iato that. 

It wasn't so bad — ^at first. But during 
the morning it began to rain like pitchforks 
and after a few minutes the mud and water 
poured down that ditch like a sewer. You 
can imagine what it felt like to be lying 
there, holding on to the bottom, so that we 
wouldn't be carried down. All the tjime 
there were wagons which we could see 

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plainly passing along the road. Several 
times we thought we'd get out and try to 
get a better spot but we wouldn't any more 
than sit up when another wagon would pop 
into sight. Oh, that was some day, all right. 
That night we were in splendid shape. 
'^Aber nicht^^^ as the Huns say. Beside 
being wet, — I was going to say drowned — 
and slimy with mud, every joint seemed 
stiff and it was a weary and mighty low- 
spirited pair that started out as soon as it 
became dark and the regular traffic on the 
road stopped. After we tramped along for 
about six kilos with the water sloshing 
in our boots we came to a little hamlet, 
which the map designated asKleinereichen. 
This was merely a farming center and all 
the farmers were asleep. A feature of this 
place seemed to be a big hotel, which was 
probably a sanitarium of some kind. We 
shotild have skirted it, particularly when 
we saw it was lighted up, but we were too 
tired and discouraged by that time to care 
much what happened and so plugged along 
past it. There was a big verandah out in 

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front and on this were a bunch of people, 
probably guests, singing German songs 
and having a first-rate time. They cer- 
tainly looked us over as we went past, but 
apparently didn't notice anything out of 
the ordinary. 

A little later we got absolutely lost. Can 
you imagine it? In an enemy country, 
trying to make your way without being 
seen and only able to steer a course by a 
compass and a map. If we cotdd have 
seen the map it wotdd have been a good 
deal easier, but of course we scarcely dared 
to strike a light anywhere. When we did 
look at the map we used to hold it imder 
our coats. Anyhow, just outside that little 
village we came to a fork in the road and, 
somehow or other, we. took the wrong turn- 
ing. That took us ten or twelve miles out 
of our way and when we discovered how 
we were travelling, we found we were hit- 
ting it back into Germany again. Of 
course when the stars were shining it wasn't 
so bad. We knew enough to pick our way 
then. But that night was wet. Indeed, 

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it rained off and on for about forty-eight 
hours. Following this road we passed 
through another little town, Hayden, which 
we remember particularly by reason of the 
old-fashioned gabled houses. Here the wag- 
ons were all drawn up in front of the 
bams along the street ready for use in the 
morning, and as we passed along the street 
we could hear the cattle stamping in the 
stables. Just as we were getting out of the 
place, a big bell made us jump, and after it 
struck four a set of beautiful chimes started 
to play. One old chap on the outskirts 
had apparently risen earlier than his neigh- 
bors for he stood out in front of his house 
in the dusk and as we went by hollered 
* ' Guten morgen. ' ' Of course we hollered back. 
We wondered what he would have thought 
if he had any idea who we were. 

We made good time that night in spite 
of our low spirits. Travelled fast to keep 
warm, I guess. There was nothing else 
to warm us up. We had started out with 
a supply of biscuits and bully beef from our 
parcels which we had counted on putting us 

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throtigh three days. It lasted about two, 
and by this time we had absolutely nothing 
left. After the way we had been filling up 
on wheat and vegetable stew, it was rather 
hard on us. We appreciated this when we 
got along ten or twelve miles farther to 
Velin, another little cx^imtry village. By 
this time it was getting light and we cotdd 
see the people getting the fires lit for break- 
fast. I remember one dear old grand- 
motherly-looking woman we saw going in 
with an armftd of wood and I said to Hart: 
"I suppose her sons are all off to the war 
and she has to chop up that wood herself. 
I wonder what she's going to cook?" Poor 
people. Besides vegetables there wasn't 
anything much to cook. 

Shortly after this we heard some wagons 
coming and knew we wotild have to get 
under cover quick. So, taking a chance, 
and not knowing what we might nm into, 
we took a private road and going past a 
house, got into a little patch of scrub trees, 
the patch being perhaps about twenty 
feet across. To get there we had to get 

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past a man cutting clover in a field. We 
hid behind something or other till he went 
into the bam and then skinned across the 
field- During the day some children came 
right past us within a few feet. It's a 
mystery how they didn't discover us for 
there was practically nothing between them 
and us. 

We knew this cotddn't happen again, 
that if anyone else came along it wotdd be 
the end of us so we decided to take a chance 
and to try to get into what looked like 
a good-sized patch of woods to the left. 
When we got over there after a good dash, 
we f oimd it was only fifty yards through 
and was crossed with paths, which were 
evidently frequently tised. However, we 
got down a little farther to a copse of firs, 
crawled in under them and spent the rest 
of the day there. 

It rained again that day, a cold, disheart- 
ening drizzle, and by this time we were in 
pretty bad shape and about ready to give up. 

By the map we knew that we were about 
twenty-five to thirty kilos (about sixteen 

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miles) from the border, and expected that 
we would have to take another day to it. 
So that night we started off again, with 
gnawing stomachs, and with clothes still 
soaked. My, how that rain did pound into 
our faces! A regular hurricane blew, too. 
I suppose it was the very best kind of a 
night for us to travel, there was no one else 
on the road. Just about then we weren't 
thinking much about that. 

Along toward morning we came to a drive- 
shed placed in front of and only a little dis- 
tance away from a house on the roadside. 
By this time I was too tired to go on any 
farther, and while I knew it was taking a 
chance, I said to Hart: "This looks like a 
good place to kip." He agreed, and when 
we went around to investigate, we found 
the sides of the place piled to the top with 
straw — ^wheat straw on one side, oat straw 
on the other. We scurried around for a 
little while, trying to get something to eat 
and found a few hard potatoes. They were 
better than nothing, but raw potatoes are 
not particularly refreshing any time. 

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About three o'clock, I guess it was, we 
climbed up the wooden posts, our coats 
catching on the dowels, and finally tumbled 
down on the straw. We thought it would 
be warm, but the wind blew in all aroimd 
the place. I won't soon forget that night. 
By this time the wet and exposure had 
begim to affect my wound and I was in 
agony. After we lay there a while, I said 
to Hart: "I can't stand this any longer. 
I've got to have a smoke." 

"For God's sake, don't," he shot back. 
"You'll set the place on fire or somebody 
will be sure to see the light." 

For a while this seemed good advice, 
but eventually I had to get out my old 
pipe and by holding the match under my 
coat I managed to get her going. And it 
was a big comfort. 

At daybreak the farmer and a Russian 
prisoner came down into the shed and we 
heard the farmer tell the Russ how to make 
sheaves out of the straw and send him to 
climb up one of the piles. At first we had 
been looking over the top of the pile, but 

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of course when they came near we dropped 
t^ack. Well, when that Russ started to 
climb, it soimded as though he was making 
for our side of the shed and we got ready 
to throttle him; but, for some reason we 
cotdd never imderstand, he turned back 
and climbed up into the other mow. He 
seemed to be a fairly happy cuss, for he 
worked away there, singing as he worked, 
all morning. 

During the morning the farmer came back 
and was so pleased with the work, that he 
began to praise him. Say, I wish they'd 
sent me to that farmer instead of to Becker. 
It turned out rather ftmny, however, for 
the Russian didn't imderstand what the 
farmer meant; thought he was kidding him, 
I guess, and began to get mad. When the 
farmer went away he began to swear like 
sixty. 

Several times I was going to holler to 
him but we had learned from experience 
that you cotddn't always trust these fellows 
so I didn't like to. 

Late in the afternoon it got so cold and 

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I got so miserable that I decided I had to 
have another smoke. Hart wasn't a smoker 
and he got mad — I guess it isn't much 
wonder — ^when he saw me begin to light 
matches in the straw. I was able to get 
the old pipe down under my coat and keep 
the smoke pretty well in, however, for our 
Russian friend certainly didn't suspect 
anything. And how that smoke did warm 
me up. 

That surely was a long day. I guess we 
were too miserable or too excited to sleep. 
We got scarcely any sleep during the four 
days we were on the way. That night, 
though, we got started off again, as we 
hoped, on the last leg. We had heard how 
hard it was to get over the border, but we 
kept on going and hoping. 

And that night we got lost again. We 
came to a bend in the road with a railroad 
rtmning through it and, thinking we were 
going in the right direction, cut across the 
fields. Here we hit another road but since 
we struck this on an angle, couldn't tell 
which direction to take. We went along 

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what seemed to be right, however, but 
after a while came to a village which wasn't 
shown on the map, so we knew we must be 
astray. It's a fimny thing, but when Jack 
began to tell me about the route he followed 
I fotmd he got lost in about the same way 
on this same strip of road. 

Coming back we piked along and finally 
came to a place we were able to identify 
as Oding. As we walked along we heard 
shots and I remember noting to Hart that 
it seemed as if we were coming up into the 
firing line again. It sounded like old times, 
just like coming up into the conMnunication 
trenches. 

We got quite a scare at a bend here, for 
as we came along some dogs started to 
bark. We scooted as fast as we could 
across a field but went back when they 
didn't seem to be coming any nearer and 
then found that they were tied up, evidently 
police dogs. A minute later two lights 
swept into view coming down the road and 
we just had time to duck across the ditch 
and into a patch of trees when two German 

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soldiers came along on bicycles carrying 
strong seachlights. If we hadn't seen those 
lights they wotild have had us as sure as 
guns. As they jogged past somewhat lei- 
surely we were able to hear them talking 
about looking out for some escaped prison- 
ers. Comforting, wasn't it? 

We worked around and through Oding, 
passing the town about 12 p.m., and a little 
way past came on a signpost which noted 
that it was only seven and a half kilos 
to Winterswijk, a Dutch town, lying just 
across the border. From this we figured 
that we were only three or four kilos from 
the border. 

We had been told that the dividing line 
was very closely guarded, and after talk- 
ing it over, decided that it would be better 
to leave the road here and to work over on 
a radius, trying to keep clear of the sentries. 
It was a very fortunate thing we did. Ac- 
cordingly, we went out about three quarters 
of a mile till we struck a good-sized bush. 
Getting into this we carried along till 
we came to a river — the Lour. Just here 

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there were two big white crosses on two 
trees. We thought this meant something 
and stopped to investigate. I was just 
about to light a match to get a better 
look at them, when we heard some- 
thing coming. Whatever it was, was close, 
mightily so. We flopped at once right in 
our tracks and lay like logs, scarcely breath- 
ing. In a moment two men, who when 
they got close we identified as sentries, 
passed within twelve feet of us. If they 
had looked to one side they could hardly 
have helped seeing us for we had abso- 
lutely no cover and it wasn't dark enough 
to hide us at all comfortably. 

After things settled down, we started on 
again, travelling northwest along the Lour 
which we knew flowed into Holland and 
thtis would land us there tiltimately. As 
you can imagine we were beastly tired, 
however, and after a while I said to Hart: 
"Surely we ought to be out now. Let's 
take another chance." 

When we hit the road again it was be- 
ginning to get a little light and we noticed 

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that the signposts were different. In Ger- 
many they are red, white, and black. These 
were red, white, and blue. The houses 
looked better here, too. The trees were 
pruned and there were occasional hedges, 
something we hadn't seen in Germany. 
You can imagine how we felt. I was so 
confident, I got out my old pipe and began 
to light up. But — coming round a bend 
we saw a big arc light; underneath it a 
guardhouse and a couple of sentries on a 
beat across a spot where the road was 
fenced oflE. 

That was some timible, I can tell you. 

I grabbed Hart who didn't see the light 
for a second and we got off the road in a 
hiury. "Gosh, that was a narrow shave!" 
he said. "I guess we're not in Holland 
yet." 

We got off on a little side road and after 
going a few yards foimd a gully which 
seemed to lead in the direction we wanted. 
1 suppose it would have been safer, perhaps, 
to have stayed in that spot for another day, 
but we were so near dead we didn't see how 

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we could stand it any longer and were 
ready to take any chance- So we got down 
in that gully, which had six inches of water 
in the bottom and crawled along in this 
for three quarters of a mile past that sentry 
post and till we knew we must be across 
the border. When we finally dared to get 
up and walk we struck a letter box, which 
bore a lion instead of the eagle which is al- 
ways placed on the German boxes. A few 
minutes more brought us into Winterswijk. 
How did we feel? Well, like jimiping 
about forty feet into the air. But when we 
were so weak and tired we could scarcely 
stand, there wasn't very much fireworks 
about it. And even yet we weren't abso- 
lutely sure. However, by this time it was 
getting daylight, and we met several people 
all of whom spoke in German. This rather 
puzzled us again. Finally we got down to 
a railway station and asked a switchman 
out in the yards if this was in Holland. 
At fixst, as was perhaps natural, he seemed 
astotmded, but in a nwnute he came back 
witha"Jah! Jah!" Then we were happy. 

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We walked into the station, absolutely 
too tired to go farther, not knowing what 
treatment we would receive and not caring 
much, either. When we told them that 
we were escaped British prisoners they 
kicked up quite a fuss and said: "Germans 
no good. ' ' We had no money but they took 
pity on us, and after a wash, which felt 
mighty good, they gave us a good meal of 
coflEee and bread and butter. 

Butter — Say, but it was good! That 
was the first butter I had tasted since we 
had been in the trenches. 

When we got freshened up a little, one 
of the guards told us we would have to go 
back to the Holland guard on the border 
to report and we were taken by a short 
route back to the same spot we had been 
frightened of and had crawled that three 
quarters of a mile around in that muddy 
ditch the night before. No, we weren't a 
bit mad at ourselves. We were too dashed 
glad to be out of Germany to bother about 
a little thing like that. 

Here they made us give our names, ex- 

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plaining that these had to be sent back with 
a report of the escape, and asked us a few 
questions. Then we were taken back into 
Winterswijk, held till about ten o'clock, 
and were sent off then to Didam, where a 
quarantine camp was established. While 
we hadn't yet achieved actual freedom we 
could see the necessity of the various steps 
taken to prevent trouble and were mighty 
glad to act accordingly, knowing that 
shortly we would get back again to good 
old Blighty. 

We were held in the Didam quarantine 
station for about two weeks along with 
forty others, French, Russians, and Bel- 
gians, and while we were still under military 
surveillance were in such different condi- 
tions than we had been in for almost two 
years, that it seemed heavenly. We were 
able to get really clean here, were comfort- 
ably lodged, and got plenty to eat. Plenty, 
that would be, for an ordinary man. After 
our experience it didn't seem that we could 
ever get filled up. To make up for our 
lack of money, by arrangement with the 

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British consul to cover such cases, we were 
given a book of coupons which could be 
exchanged at a canteen in the camp for 
chocolate, fruit, tobacco, and such things. 
That book came in handy, all right. I 
figured it out afterward that my extras dur- 
ing that two weeks cost the British consul 
mighty near fifty dollars. I spent alto- 
gether 120 gruels, and a gruel works out 
at about thirty-eight cents. 

All in all the Dutch oflficials and people 
gave us the best of treatment and I guess 
I filled out physically a good deal in that 
two weeks. One of the chances I got I 
hadn't had before, was to write all the 
letters I wanted. A few of those went 
right back into Germany. 

At the end of the quarantine period we 
were sent down to Rotterdam and reported 
to the British consul. Then for a day or 
two, tmtil arrangements could be made to 
send us back to England, nothing arotmd 
that old town was too good for us. Hart 
and I were taken in tow by an interned 
petty officer who had been forced into 

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Holland during the action at Bruges early 
in the war. While he was on his honor 
not to try to escape this did not prevent 
him giving us a good time. And we surely 
had it. 



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CHAPTER VII 

EaFFORTS TO ESCAPE 

Jack Evans resumes: 

Four times in all I got away from the 
prison camp. Three times I was nabbed, 
the third time within two htmdred yards 
of the border. When they brought us 
back each time they would tell us, with a 
good deal of glee, that no one could get en- 
tirely out of Germany. Well, you see, we 
believed in trying. 

The first attempt was made about the 
middle of February, 1917. Several of us 
had been planning for quite a while how it 
could be done and finally Raesides — ^you've 
heard me speak of him before — and I hit 
on the scheme of digging through the wall 
of the barracks. What inspired it, I guess, 
was the finding of a loose board under one 
of our bunks. 

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We managed to get a small shovel up 
from the mine, hiding it tmder our clothes, 
as we came past the guards, and started 
to work. No sinecure that either, after 
putting in the regular day's stint down in 
the mine. But we kept at it, getting a 
little done at a time. First the floor had 
to be pried up to allow the passage of a 
man's body. After that came some fairly 
easy digging till we struck the stone wall 
of the barrack. That ran down a good piece 
into the grotmd and there was nothing to 
do but to hammer a hole though it. To 
do that with a shovel was no pink-tea job, 
either. Finally, however, we got through 
that and then continued the tunnel about 
fifteen yards farther to carry us well tmder 
the three rows of wire and the sentry beats 
arotmd the camp. 

What did we do with the earth? Most 
of it went up under our bunks. It was 
packed away there for fair. If they had 
come arotmd to inspect it they wotild have 
seen something was doing. But you see, 
we had to take a chance in some ways. 

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Well, after about three weeks' hard work 
Rae and I got that tirnnel ready to open up, 
and one night about midnight we made 
the break. The opening brought us up 
right beside the road nmning rotmd the 
camp and we got away from that spot 
without any trouble. We had planned to 
get across the river, the Lippe, the first 
night and to do this, foolishly attempted to 
cross a railway bridge within a mile or two 
of the camp. We might have known what 
would happen, I found out later that it 
didn't pay to take any chances on such 
things and that it needed a good deal of 
experience to know just what to expect 
and even then the imexpected came along 
frequently. 

Anyway, we were nabbed before we even 
got across that bridge and marched back 
to camp by a guard with fixed bayonets. 
That experience was brief. And it brought 
us twelve days each in black cells as a 
ptmishment. 

We worried along from then till the end 
of March but in April, with the feel of spring 

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in the air, made up our minds to try it 
again. This time six of us went at it, dig- 
ging a tunnel similarly but in another part 
of the barracks. Everything looked lovely. 
We laid the thing out so as to escape the 
sentries' regular beat, had a stock of food 
saved up, and everjrthing, as we thought, 
well planned. At the appointed time 
Nicholson, who was ahead, with three of 
us in the tunnel and two above in the bunk 
house, started to open out the ttmnel. He 
was pretty near the top and about ready 
to break through when he got a big sur- 
prise. And so, I guess, did somebody else. 
It appeared that for some peculiar reason 
the beat of one of the sentries had been 
changed that day and he was following a 
path, for the first time that night, which 
led him directly over that ttmnel. What 
did the beggar do but come along just as 
Nick was ready to break out and by his 
weight broke through. He was too sur- 
prised, I guess, to do anything at fii-st. So 
were we. We knew the game was up, 
though, and there was nothing to do but 

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to beat it. So we all scrambled out of the 
hole and back to bed and when the sentries 
came in with a big hullabaloo a little later 
nobody knew anything about it. 

We thought we were going to get off 
without trouble, but the trouble came all 
right next morning, when they paraded all 
the British prisoners and threatened that 
they would ptmish the whole bunch if the 
guilty ones were not given up. We knew 
somebody would have to take what was 
coming but didn't see that there was any 
use of all of us being let in for it, so drew 
lots, when we got by ourselves, as to who 
would stand the gaff. As a result Black- 
lock, Howitt, and Toby Boyd gave them- 
selves up and were given seven days 
"black." 

Really we had a lot of ftm over digging 
that timnel. This time we loosened a board 
at one end only and to avert suspicion ar- 
ranged that a man in the bunk should 
hold it up while another chap worked below. 
Occasionally the man above forgot, let go, 
and the thing sprang to with a bang. Since 

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there were sentries only a few yards away 
it is easy to see what chances we took. 

I think we started the "escape fever" at 
that camp for as far as I know nobody had 
ever tried it before. The place was pro- 
tected and sentried so well that it wotdd 
seem as if there was little chance of success 
tmless some miracle happened. Our fel- 
lows kept on trying, however, with results 
as you shall see. 

A little while after this second attempt 
Nicholson and another chap named McDon- 
ald had another go at it. We worked up a 
sort of mock circus, got two of the fellows 
made up like a camel, performing fimny 
antics. Naturally the sentries became in- 
terested and while their attention was drawn 
these two climbed the fence, cutting the 
wire with a pair of pliers they had swiped 
from the mine, and got well away. 

They were away for six days and went 
through a lot of hardships, only to be cap- 
tured again when about a mile from the 
border of Holland. That attempt helped 
the rest of us, though, for those fellows got 

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a grist of information while out on that 
trip which proved mighty useful to us af- 
terward. 

A little later a Yorkshireman named 
Blacklock, an old chap who had come to 
Canada and spent a good many years trap- 
ping and cowptmching, a hard old dufifer if 
ever there was one, made a try at it alone. 
Someway or other he got hold of some 
civilian clothes and coming up from the 
mine one night he joined the group of ci- 
vilian laborers till they got out of the com- 
pound. He was away only two days when 
they brought him back. 

My third attempt, when Nicholson and 
I got within two hundred yards of the 
border, was planned somewhat similarly. 
By this time we realized there wasn't much 
use trying to get away in our prisoners' 
clothes and in consequence managed to have 
a couple of outfits sent out with our parcels 
from England, and these we were able to 
keep away from the Germans so that the 
distinguishing stripes were not put on. It 
was mighty hard to keep these through 

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inspection, when all the premises were gone 
over, but by sewing them up in our mat- 
tresses and again by depositing them in a 
garbage pail while the inspection was on, 
we managed to hang on to tiiem. Our hats 
were marked, too, so we "pinched" two 
from the civilian clothes room one time when 
we made a break through there on the way 
up to the mine head. We had been able 
to hold the compass and map we had used 
the first time. These, by the way, had been 
secured from civilians in exchange for soap. 

We had planned the break for the night 
of May 26th. This was still in 191 7, re^ 
member. We put on the civilian clothes, 
with our regular clothes over them, and 
went to the mine as usual. We had been 
trying to save up some grub for the trip, 
but our parcels hadn't been coming along 
as they should and so all we had were ten 
French biscuits, which would correspond 
to about half a potmd of our Canadian 
sodas. These were carried in woollen belts 
we had had specially made for the purpose. 

When the time arrived that night to come 

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up out of the mine, we waited around on 
one side till the last cage and schemed it 
so that only three of us were left for that 
load. The other was Matt Johnson, a 
Toronto boy, who I fancy is still in the 
prison camp. On the way up Nick and I 
tossed off our prisoners' clothes and threw 
them back down the shaft. Then when we 
reached the mine head we simply walked 
off as though we were civilians, Johnson 
going his way back to the prisoners' camp. 
Reference to the diagram opposite will per- 
haps'make otu* course clearer. Leaving the 
mine head we had to pass ten sentries. 
Of course we were black then, being covered 
with coal dust. The civilians were sup- 
posed to wash at a special lavatory at the 
end of the building. We knew that if we 
got in among them we would be nabbed at 
once, so we htmg arotmd in one of the cor- 
ners of the office building till we thought 
they would be through washing up, in the 
meantime rubbing our faces off with a wet 
rag we had brought up for the purpose, and 
then walked boldly over to the time oflfices, 

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where the civilians checked in, and passed 
through with a few of the others. One or 
two of the civilians eyed us a little queerly 
though nothing was said. We had to take 
a big chance there, for we hadn't had any 
opportunity to leam what the procedure 
was and a little slip might easily have given 
us away. However, we watched the men 
ahead pretty carefully and when we came 
opposite the time-clock grabbed the first 
card which came handy, shoved it in to be 
ptmched, and walked off. There were two 
or three clerks, together with the guards 
all around. I suppose we weren't more 
than two feet away from two or three of 
them for a minute or two. 

Leaving the time offices we walked over to 
a lemonade stand a good deal frequented 
by the miners, and as we had planned, to 
avert suspicion, bought a couple of bottles 
and drank them. We tried to take it all 
coolly but inwardly I know I was quaking 
all the time. Never had such a sensation 
before or since. 

As we walked down the road I noticed 

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the time, 10.15, on the clock-tower on the 
building. 

The surprising part of this, now that I 
think of it, is that we had the audacity to 
do it practically in broad daylight. They 
use the daylight-saving system over there, 
you see, and it was still quite light at ten 
o'clock. 

Well, we felt mighty good. I had hard 
work to keep Nick down. He seemed to 
be so ftdl of spirits, he could hardly keep 
from running and jumping. Looked as if 
he thought he was out of the country al- 
ready. As it turned out, he was a long 
way from it. 

We worked our way outside the town 
without apparently creating any suspicion, 
and as soon as we were reasonably well 
away, pulled out our compass and set a 
course for the river Lippe, about four miles 
away. I knew better than to try to cross 
on any bridge. Remembered that too well, 
so we made for farther down the river. 

We had planned that if we got across the 
river and got into good cover the first night 

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we would be doing well so when we hit a 
fairly good-looking spot we stopped and 
looked arotind for something to build a 
raft. Why didn't we swim it? We did, 
practically, but you see we had to think of 
our food. Remember that what little we 
had was those French biscuits which swelled 
up and were no further use if they got wet. 
It was up to us to keep them dry. After 
htmting for perhaps half an hour we fotmd 
some fence posts and with some ropes we 
had brought wrapped about our waists 
from the mine, we made up a little raft to 
carry our clothes. Then we stripped and 
swam over, pushing the raft ahead of us. 

Gee, that was cold. The Lippe was 
about as big as the Himaber, west of Toronto, 
say thirty yards wide, but it was swift and 
it was all we could do to make it. When 
we got across Nick climbed the bank to 
see what things looked like while I stayed 
behind to break up the raft and get the 
ropes off it. 

And right here I want to tell you what 
kind of a chap Nick was. He hadn't been 

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used to roughing it much. Spent most of 
his life in Winnipeg, I think, where he had 
some job on the Grain Exchange. He was 
more used to tennis and such pink tea 
games than things like this. But he cer- 
tainly had the stuff in him all right. When 
I climbed up over that bank what do you 
suppose I saw? There was old Nick, still 
in the costtune Nature gave him, dancing 
arotmd shivering and with his eyes skinned, 
looking for trouble. When I asked him, 
none too politely, I guess, what he was doing, 
he said : " Did you think I was piker enough 
to get dressed while you were down there 
in that cold water?'* That was Nick, 
playing up square and taking his big share 
of trouble every time. Gee, I wish I could 
have brought him along with me, when I 
did get away. 

Well, that first difficulty over we got into 
our clothes and started off, keeping our 
eyes open for cover. It was scarce arotmd 
there or we weren't so easily satisfied as 
we got to be later, for we kept on moving 
and didn't find anything which looked safe 

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till about 4 a.m., when we ran across what 
looked like a good-looking clump of bushes 
in about an acre of bush. Of course it 
was dark and we couldn't be sure, as be- 
came evident afterward. We didn't sleep 
any that morning. Excitement too great, 
I suppose. But there was another even 
better reason. We soon learned that we 
were in the middle of a swampy patch 
and that patch must have been a mosquito 
paradise. Gee, how they sang and how 
they bit. And the German mosquito is 
no slouch, I can tell you. We wanted half 
a dozen times to make a break for a better 
spot, but as soon as it got light we foimd 
that we had quartered ourselves only 
about a himdred yards from a farmhouse, 
and that somebody seemed to be moving 
about all the time. As a matter of fact 
the children from that house, who by the 
way seemed to be mosquito proof, — ^ac- 
climatized, I suppose, — ^played for several 
hotirs within twenty yards of us. We started 
to move out several times but remembered 
that there was a reward placed on every 

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prisoner's head and that a civilian had a 
right to shoot at sight at anything he sus- 
pected. It seemed as if all the civilians, 
the farmers at least, were armed. Had to 
be, I guess, to keep the other fellows away 
from their food supply. 

When I looked at Nick toward night I 
had to laugh for his eyes and cheeks were 
swollen up fearfully. He said I was the 
same. One of the hardest things was that 
we cotddn't get water. It may seem strange 
but that was one of the biggest difficulties 
we had all along the way. We scouted 
aroimd that house and bam after it got 
dark, but couldn't find anything wet, ex- 
cept the swamp. Things are a good deal 
different at night and in the dark, particu- 
larly in a strange country, and when you 
are watching all the time for something 
to happen, than they are under other con- 
ditions. 

We started about 10.45 that night, just 
as it was dusk, and because the country 
was very hard to get across, travelled along 
tiie road. Several times we met people 

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but in most cases they spoke to us and 
when we gave them back a salutation, they 
did not notice anything out of tiie ordinary. 
About one in the morning we crossed a 
raihroad track. We thought we had to be 
careful tiiere and so scouted through a lit- 
tle clump of bushes. As we climbed out, 
a little carelessly, I'm afraid, and probably 
with a good deal of cracking of branches, 
our eyes lit on — a bunch of white tents not 
fifty yards away. Two sentries were on 
their beats and how they didn't see or hear 
us is a mystery. It was probably a small 
detachment, camped for the night. We 
weren't very long in getting back into the 
bush, I can assure you. 

We piked along till four o'clock, when we 
ran into a patch of low scrub, not big enough 
to provide cover, and awfully hard to get 
through. I think we wandered arotmd in 
that for about two hoiu-s, most of it in 
daylight. About six o'clock we heard a 
shot or two, mighty close too, and thought 
somebody must have spotted us. After a 
minute or two we saw a chap in the next 

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EFFORTS TO ESCAPE 

field shooting crows. After a few minutes 
we knew we would have to take what cover 
we cotdd get, so stowed ourselves away as 
best we could there. By that time we were 
pretty tired so we went off to sleep till 
about noon. Our Itmch consisted of part 
of a biscuit and we were so thirsty — ^we 
hadn't been able to get any water yet — 
that it was almost out of the question to get 
it down. Our tongues were fairly wagging. 

About three-thirty it began to rain like 
the dickens. In a way this was tough. 
In another we were glad. As those drops 
came down we held up our felt hats and 
got our mouths moistened. Have you ever 
wanted a drink badly and were only able 
to tantalize yourself like that? 

Ever drink from a puddle? Muddy ones 
and all? We did that night for when we 
started — about 10.30 — we still wanted 
water and that was the safest and easiest 
way to get it. And that muddy stuff 
helped us so that we were able to travel 
that night, so near as we could estimate, 
about twelve or thirteen miles. 

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That night also we had trouUe in finding 
cover, and finally got shelter in a small cliimp 
of bushes. The spot was pretty well ex- 
posed, too, so we kept on the lookout and 
didn't dare to think of going to sleep. Two 
or three times that day, children passed 
within fifteen feet and we thought they were 
going to walk right in on us, but something 
seemed to steer them away. The day was 
memorable for another feature. We ran 
out of tobacco and from that time on had 
to smoke old leaves. 

The next night was one to remember, 
also, but for a different reason. We started 
out before it got very dark, at about 10.45, 
and just got nicely out of the bush, when 
we unexpectedly ran into two girls, farmers' 
daughters, probably. By this time we were 
not objects of beauty by any means for of 
coiu*se we had had no opportimity to wash 
or shave and looked pretty cadaverous, I 
guess, in addition. They seemed to know 
what we were, for they ran away as hard 
as they could leg it and apparently lost no 
time in imparting the information, for the 

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next thing we knew we heard a biinch of 
men, a posse, on otir track. 

Imagine what that felt like, being chased 
by men who knew the cotmtry like a book 
while we were staggering along through 
the bush, not knowing what we would nm 
into or where we wotdd come out. At one 
time we judged they were within three him- 
dred yards of us. We could hear them 
calling to one another and could tell that 
they thought they had us right in their 
clutches. When they got near like this, 
though, we would take a spurt ahead again. 
This kept on for about two hoiu-s and finally 
they seemed to give up in disgust. We 
travelled along tmtil daylight but were 
nearly all in. 

The next night a somewhat similar expe- 
dience followed. We spent the day in poor 
cover near the road and two or three times 
during the day children passed just a few 
feet from us, evidently going to and from 
school. We were in pretty bad shape for 
water but finally got some out of a lit- 
tle creek in the neighborhood. And then, 

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shortly after we started out, at night, 
piking along the road as well as we could, 
we ran plump into a man on a bicycle, who 
was riding along so quietly in the darkness 
we did not hear him. Without a doubt 
he knew what we were but he was appar- 
ently scared of us, for after taking a good 
look, he jtunped on his wheel and pedalled 
off down the road at a great rate. And it 
wasn't long till another posse was at our 
heels. 

By this time we thought we had enough 
of travelling on the road, so struck across 
the fields, evading the posse, who appar- 
ently went right along the road after us. 
It was impossible to see the compass, which 
was not illuminated, so we steered our 
course as best we could by the north star. 
Gee, we were fagged that night. But so 
near as we could figure from landmarks and 
the map we seemed to be about ten kilos 
— seven or eight miles — ^from the frontier. 
We looked hard for cover that morning, 
till we were too exhausted to look further 
and finally got into a little group of trees 

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near a road. We saw as soon as it got light 
that this spot would never do, for the road 
appeared to be used a good deal and there 
was no shelter whatever, beyond the mere 
tree trunks. So we made for a little creek 
bank a few feet away and dug in halfway 
tmder the bank, hoping to make a hole big 
enough to shelter us. It was stiff digging 
in that heavy clay with our hands, however, 
and finally we gave it up and decided to use 
a few old leaves to strew over us if it seemed 
necessary. Across from us was an open 
field and we had no sooner gotten settled 
down nicely than two women came out and 
began to hoe turnips. They worked there 
steadily all day, at times not more than a 
htmdred yards from us, and all the time 
people, wagons, and children were passing 
up and down that road, not more than 
fifty feet away on the other side. About 
seven p.m., the women went in and we sat 
up for relief, for by that time, after lying 
as nearly motionless as possible all day, we 
were rather cramped, as you can imagine. 
We had just begim to stretch out when we 

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heard someone coming through the patch 
of trees and had to duck and crawl back 
into tiie hole again. It was well we did. 
A minute later two German soldiers, fully 
armed, and probably belonging to a local 
patrol, came along the bank and crossed 
the creek within ten feet of us. As if that 
wasn't enough they stopped just opposite 
where we were lying and began to talk. 
We hadn't had time to get any leaves over 
us and were practically in plain sight. Why 
they didn't see us is a wonder. We lay 
like statues, though, and as anyone who 
has been out in No Man's Land knows, it's 
sometimes mighty hard to spot anything 
when it doesn't move. Whether we looked 
like logs or something similar, I don't know. 
You see, we had a good deal of mud and 
clay over us. Anyway, after what seemed 
a long time those two chaps toddled away. 
We tiiought at the time the women must 
have seen us and sent the patrol out after 
us. When we heard them talk, though, and, 
with a good deal of relief, saw them cut 
across the fields, we guessed that tiiey had 

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just happened that way. The direction 
they took would bring them, so near as we 
could reckon by the map, into a little town 
named Weseke and they were probably 
taking a short cut to get back to their 
quarters. 

That night was to be the fated one. We 
got off early, planning to hit the border 
about two A.M., if possible, and followed 
the road for a while so as not to lose our 
course. At first We made good time, though 
we were so weary and hungry we cotdd 
scarcely walk straight. Then we began to 
meet people on the road, and besides keep- 
ing our eyes open, had to flop into the 
ditch when anyone came along. We got 
to Weseke somewhere about midnight, and 
knew we were then only about four miles 
and a half from Holland. Liberty seemed 
mighty near at hand. However, from here 
on, we knew we shotdd have to travel a 
good deal by the main road since the coim- 
try was full of very heavy swamps which 
it wotdd have been impossible for us to get 
through in our weakened condition. We 

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knew tiiere were likely to be patrols on this 
road and so were extra careftd. Two or 
three times patrols on bicycles did pass us, 
going both ways. We were fortunate enough 
to see them and to flop into the ditch each 
time. I suppose it was risky travelling 
like that but by this time we had grown 
so used to narrow escapes we didn't think 
much of them, and besides we had gotten 
along so well and had come through so 
many narrow squeaks I guess we thought 
our good forttme was sure to continue. So 
we jogged along, the best way we cotdd. 
We had eaten the last few crumbs of our 
biscuits that morning and by this time were 
past being hungry. It was about all we 
cotdd do to stagger. And the thought of 
gaining our freedom shortly had a good 
deal to do with our getting along at all. 
I was bad enough. But poor Nick was a 
good deal worse and kept up by sheer nerve. 
Finally, after keeping our eyes and ears 
skinned, we came to a signpost, which the 
map covering that section of the road 
showed to be just on the border. One 

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arm pointed northwest, into Holland, the 
other back into Germany, and this latter 
arm bore words to the effect, so near as we 
could read them in the dark, that the near- 
est German town was two and a half miles 
back. Things were pretty quiet arotmd 
there just then and I said to Nick: "Old 
boy, I believe we're over." 

"I don't know. Jack," he said. "I'm 
not so sure." I was willing to bet anything 
but on Nick's advice we went along cau- 
tiously. As we passed down the road we 
saw ntmierous cltunps of bushes and just 
when I began to feel absolutely siu*e and 
was about ready to let out a big whoop, 
suddenly three sentries with fixed bayonets 
stepped out from behind the bushes ^ not three 
yards away from us. 

We were nabbed again. 

We tried to make a break for it, but 
were so surprised and so weak that it was 
no use. Before we cotdd move those fel- 
lows were aroimd us with the tips of their 
bayonets against our skin and yelling: 
"Zwrwcife" (Go back). 



13 



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Say! You can't imagine what I felt 
like then. Nobody could who hadn't been 
through it. My heart dropped to my toes 
like a hunk of lead and I nearly dropped 
myself, witii it. We knew we were near 
tiie border but not how near. 

In a moment the chap who seemed to be 
in charge looked us up and down and asked 
for our passports. When we pretended 
not to be able to tmderstand him, he asked 
what we were. We said we were Belgian 
civilians taking a little night trip into Hol- 
land for some grub. We knew that was 
frequently done and thought if we could 
get away with that we would get off easier. 
Then we asked how far it was to the fron- 
tier. One of them said, "Ten kilos,'* an- 
other made it five. The third said, "Not 
many." 

We had learned from the civilians in the 
mines that no German civilian was allowed 
within three hundred yards of the border 
without a passport. 

The corporal looked us over again, shoved 
a searchlight in our faces, and said: ^'Nein. 

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Sie sind Engldnder schwein.** We knew 
then that he had us and that we might as 
well admit it, so said: 'VaA/' 

And then I looked around at old Nick 
and wondered if he felt as badly about it 
as I did. Good old Nick. I'd give every- 
thing I've got if he were out of it with me, 
now. 

The Germans went through us, taking 
our map and compass, and marched us off, 
insisting that we keep our hands in our 
pockets. When we got back to their billet 
they asked us how long we had been without 
food. I asked in reply if there was any 
chance of getting any bread, but was told 
they had no bread, that we would be given 
some food after our trial. About half- 
past three o'clock an under-officer came 
along and the Germans who had nabbed us 
shouted: ^'Achtungl'' (Attention). I was so 
down in the mouth and so tired I wotddn't 
have sprung to attention for King George 
just then, so didn't obey. This chap 
quizzed us for awhile. "Ha," he said. 
''Running away, were you? Might as well 

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have saved yotirselves the trouble. No 
one is able to get out of Germany." 

It looked to us just then as if he were 
pretty nearly right. 

About nine next morning we were 
marched into Sudlohn, the nearest town, 
and put through another quiz. When they 
asked what camp we had escaped from, 
we told them Munster. Munster is only 
about twenty-five miles from the border 
and would be easy to get away from. And 
just here we got another sample of German 
efficiency. The officer who examined us, 
and who, by the way, spoke English, said 
when we told him that: ''What do you 

think I am? A d n fool? You men 

escaped from Auguste Victoria gruber in 
Westphalia. You," looking at me, "are 
Evans. And you," turning to Nick, 
"are Nicholson. Why," he went on to 
explain, "we have records of you fellows 
all along the border. We know all about 
you and just where youVe been." 

When he asked how we got oxir civilian 
clothes we told him we stole them and he 

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8 

i 

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seemed to think it was a great joke. He 
said : "You got away from the camp nicely. 
But you nor anyone else cannot finally 
escape from Germany. It's impossible. 
Why/' he commented, "there are almost 
as many sentries on the frontier as there are 
soldiers on the Western front and even the 
whole British army can't get through there." 

When he went on a little farther we got 
some information which made us feel worse 
than ever, if that was possible. After he 
asked us all he wanted to, he turned to one 
of the guards and asked: "Where did you 
capture these men? " 

"At my post," was the reply, in German 
of course. " It is 210 meters from the fron- 
tier. He was ten meters past my post." 

Do you see it? We had been within two 
hundred yards of the Holland border when 
they nabbed us I 

If we had only known. 

We thought another chance was coming 
shortly, for after they gave us a bowl of 
soup — better than usual, by the way — ^we 

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were lodged in the detention cells in Sud- 
lohn, and after a sleep got some of our 
spuits back. In that cell we found part of 
an old spoon and saw that by working away 
with the screws in the hinges of the door 
the lock cotdd be taken off. We were 
working away at this and had the screws 
nearly all loosened when a Frenchman was 
shoved in the same cell. 

This chap had rather an interesting story. 
He had escaped with three others from a 
camp two hundred miles from the border 
and had been on the road twenty-one days. 
He had had a good supply of food with him 
however, — ^somehow those Frenchmen al- 
ways seemed to be able to get more than 
we did, — and wasn't feeling so badly. The 
three who had escaped with him had been 
capttu^ed but he had gotten away practi- 
cally out of the hands of the guards,* only 
to be taken again, not far from where we 
had been nabbed. The examination they 
had given him had not been so thorough as 
tihey had put us through for he still had a 
supply of biscuits and chocolate and had 

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I 



0) 



to 

a.S - 
« ^ o 

9 V S 

<^ t 

o* a « 
»^ ^ 



CO 

a 
a 

I 



1 



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EFFORTS TO ESCAPE 

been able to hang on to his map and 
compass. 

Together we had qtiite a time, though 
it was rather close, as you may imagine, in 
that small cell. Anyhow, we schemed to 
finish loosening up those screws and to 
make another break for it that night. The 
screws came loose all right after a good 
deal of struggling, and everything was 
ready, but at seven o'clock the guards 
came round, hatded Nick and I out, landed 
us on a train, and shipped us back on a four- 
hour ride to Auguste Victoria camp. 

When we got off the train and saw where 
we were we felt like — ^well I'll leave it to 
you to imagine. 

It was rather funny, though, to be brought 
in through the very time office we had 
walked out from a few days before and 
to hear the officials commenting on our 
escape. By this time they had sized up 
pretty well how it had been done. 

Beyond that bowl of soup we were given 
no nourishment, and when, on arrival at 
the camp, we were shot into the clink — black 

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cells — ^and I knew we were in for a course 
of reduced rations which came with that 
treatment, I was about all in again. As 
it turned out, though, it wasn't as bad as 
usual that time. The first day, when I was 
out for water, I managed to slip through 
the fence into the English compotmd a 
note addressed to Raesides asking him to 
scheme some way to get some food to us. 
The cells we were in that time were next to 
the compotmd. Rae f oimd out somehow or 
other which one I was in and by working for 
a few minutes at a time for a night or two 
he managed to work the cement away 
around the comer of a small brick above 
my head. The hole wasn't big enough to 
put any solid through and, you see, he 
didn't dare to enlarge it, but he managed 
to make a funnel out of a bit of tin and 
through that poured bits of bully beef, 
biscuits, and even tea, which I caught in 
my cap. Say, that sttiflf tasted great. I 
f oimd after a little that the latch on my 
cell was loose and could be easily opened, 
and at night, after the guards had made 

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their rounds, I used to get out, open up 
Nick's cell, which was not far away and 
we would have great feeds together. Rae 
kept on bringing us that stuff every night. 
Fortunately there were a bunch of parcels 
coming in just then and they had lots to 
spare. I'll bet those guards wondered why 
in the mischief Nick and I were so chirky. 

We had seven days of that and then one 
day they came along and marched us back 
to the mine head and ordered us to show 
how we had gotten away. We didn't want 
to tell them, natxirally, and besides we had 
a grudge against a big Prussian who had 
used us rottenly for a long while and who 
had a temper like a dynamo, so when they 
asked us who helped us, we pointed to this 
big chap. What they did to him we never 
knew but when we were sent back imme- 
diately for another ten days "black" who 
should be put in charge of the clink but 
the same big Prussian. Oxir stay was very 
comfortable, of coxirse. 

Shortly after we got out and were put 
back to work McDonald and O'Brien, two 

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others of our chaps, got away from the coke 
ovens and got clean out» crossing the border 
at about the same spot we nearly did. You 
see, we knew that it was possible to get 
out of Germany. For this, however, the 
British prisoners remaining were strafed for 
fourteen days, given detention and besides 
made to stand at ''Attention'' in the hot 
sun. 



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CHAPTER VIII 

THE SUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT 

J(ick continues : 

After the McDonald-O'Brien escape, 
things tightened up a good deal around the 
camp. More sentries were put on and these 
were watched more carefully than formeriy. 
For quite a while nobody thought it was 
worth while trying to get away. And one 
day we heard one of the captains boasting 
that no one wotdd get out of that camp 
again. 

Prom Jtme till September things kept 
getting worse. The food was skimpier, and 
had it not been for our parcels we wotdd 
have been dead a dozen times over. The 
Russians, particularly, suffered dreadfully 
since they had no parcels coming regularly 
and it was a frequent thing to see two or 

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three of them fall down in a faint in a 
morning. They were carried out and we 
were told were sent to a hospital. Since 
we nor their friends never saw them again 
we did not know what really became of 
them. Stories went rotmd that there was 
not enough food in the German hospitals 
to bring these fellows back to strength. 

Then, when things were at their worst, 
Nick and I thought it was about time to 
try it again. We knew it would be no use 
to try any of the old tricks, that they would 
be watching for us, and so started on a new 
game. When we were taken to the mine 
in the morning and brought up at night, we 
prisoners were left by ourselves in a wash- 
room near the mine offices, part of which 
was used by the German civilians, part by 
the prisoners who worked in the mine. 
We had often thought of the possibilities 
of getting out of here but since it was a solid 
stone building and the windows were all 
heavily barred with iron bars an inch in 
diameter and about eight inches apart, the 
prospects did not seem very bright. Finally, 

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however, it occurred to us to try the mortar 
around those bars. It was hard, but softer 
than I had expected, and we saw that if we 
were able to keep at it and were not de- 
tected there was a good chance of getting 
one of those bars loose. Just about that 
time they separated Nick and I, putting us 
on different shifts, but we kept on nibbling 
arotmd the end of that bar just the same. 

It may sound easy, but we were just 
foxir weeks, working regularly every day, 
seven days a week, getting that bar loose. 
Of course we only could worry with it for 
from one to five minutes a day. I used to 
stand over at that window, while the other 
fellows were washing, and make out that 
I liked to look out of the window and sing, 
for all the time I was scraping away at it 
I was htmmiing "Tipperary'* or something 
like that to hide the noise. ,You see, the 
windows in the civilian room were only a 
few feet away. Fortunately there were 
some heavy vines growing up over that 
window — one of the reasons we chose it — 
which hid us and the hole from view out- 

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side. But to keep it as far as possible 
from being discovered we used to caref tiUy 
fill up the hole around the bar each time 
just before we left it. 

When we got that hole worked in about 
six inches, I bent the wire into the shape of 
a hook to try for the end of the iron, but 
had to go fully two inches farther before I 
struck it. That meant that the bar was 
buried eight inches in the masonry. We 
tried the other end for a while but the 
mortar there seemed to be a good deal 
harder and progress was slower, so we de- 
cided to put the one hole in sixteen inches 
so that the bar could be slipped out. Even 
when we got that done it took another 
week to get that bar loose enough so that 
it cotdd be moved. I had hoped that Nick 
and I cotdd make a go of it together, as we 
had done before, but after a while we de- 
cided that that wotddn't do, that we were 
too closely watched and that if we kept at 
it together they would suspect something. 
So I took on as a pal "Whitey" Masters, 
a Toronto boy who was in the same bat- 

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talion and who had been aroirnd with us 
a good deal. 

Just previous to this we had gotten a 
good supply of soap in our boxes from home 
and with some of this we bribed a civilian 
to give us a map and a small electric flash- 
light very similar to those the kids play 
with here. We tried to get a compass but 
couldn't manage it and I framed a sort 
of one up out of an old compass case and 
part of a wrist watch. We had saved up 
what food we could from the parcels and 
had been able to bring up a little rope from 
the mine. I knew from the last time the 
value of rope. Then, on the night of Sep- 
tember 1 8th, while the other fellows were 
washing, we slid that bar out of place, slid 
through the window, and then slid it back 
again. I was thinking of old Nick, you 
see, and hoping he could do the same trick. 
Just outside the window was a wire fence 
and outside this again was a spiked fence. 
We managed to get through these, however, 
although sentries were supposed to be pass- 
ing all the time. As a matter of fact one 

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came around the comer just when we hopped 
off the last fence and we had just time to 
hop behind a clump of bushes till he went 
by, within fifteen feet of us. At the same 
time two well-lit street cars went by along 
the main road to Haltem, which ran just 
beside the camp. We were almost in plain 
sight of the people in those cars and yet 
we didn't dare move lest the noise should 
disturb that sentry. Oh, those were some 
anxious minutes, all right. 

On my trips to the trials I had tried to 
size up the roads and tried to make for one 
now which I thought would get us to the 
river and across easily. I must have gotten 
out of the way, though, for shortly we hit 
a swamp and got in it up to our necks. It 
was awful, flotmdering around there in 
the dark, up to our necks in some places, 
and not knowing when or where we were 
coming out. Of cotirse we didn't dare to 
flash the lamp so near the camp. And we 
were in that slough about two hours. 

Finally we wallowed out and got over 
to the river. We intended to work the 

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raft game as we had done the time before, 
but after looking around for material for 
a long while we had to give it up to get 
cover. The next night, after working our 
way about ten miles up looking for some- 
thing to cross on we got hold of a scow 
which we rowed across in good style. We 
got on five or six miles farther and then, 
while trying to get some water at a farm- 
house, apparently aroused some dogs and 
had to nm for it. No sooner had we got- 
ten away from them than we struck the 
river again. Apparently it had made a big 
bend in the intervening cotmtry which was 
not shown on our map. This time it was 
wider and not so deep and we were able to 
wade it. 

The next day we had splendid cover in 
a big piece of bush and got some sleep. So 
when we started out that night we were a 
good deal fresher. My feet bothered me 
considerably though, and it was no joke to 
pike along over that unfamiliar coimtry. 
About 11.30 we passed through Kleine- 
reichen, the place where Fred saw the 



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tourists at the hotel. We saw the hotel 
all right but no tourists. There was a 
policeman on the other side of the street 
who eyed us pretty closely and we were 
anxious to get out of his inspection as soon 
as possible. You see this time we hadn't 
been able to get any civilian clothes and 
anyone who saw us in anything like fair 
light wotdd have spotted us in a moment. 
We went on through Grossereichen but 
after our experience with the policeman 
worked through the outskirts here. It 
rained all that night and toward morning 
we got so tired and discouraged we coiildn't 
keep it up any longer, so looked for what 
shelter we cotdd and finally got tucked 
away in a bimch of firs close to the village 
of Randolph. 

By this time our food was nmning low 
and next night, wet, himgry, and cold, we 
started out as soon as practicable to try 
to get warmed up by walking. Shortly 
afterward we got into a potato patch and 
were trying to dig out some of the gubers 
when we were fired on by some farmers. 

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It seemed not more than fifty feet away. 
That will illustrate how bad things were 
in Germany, when they had to gtiard their 
potato patches. We had learned that since 
tJie war, the farmers had been given per- 
mission to shoot anyone in their crops on 
sight. Natiirally, we got away from that 
locality as soon as possible and kept on till 
early morning, trying to get some notirish- 
ment out of three or four raw potatoes. 
When we began to look for cover and the 
first light came we f otmd ourselves in a 
sort of wilderness, the only stuff in sight 
being some low scrub. We got down in 
this and made the best of it, but got a scare 
during the day for a couple of chaps came 
along himting. They passed within a hun- 
dred yards of us and shot at something 
nearer for we heard the bullets skip through 
the brush just a few feet away. Comfort- 
ing, wasn't it? 

The next night we were almost too fagged 
to go any farther but started off as soon 
as it got dark and kept going till about 
one-thirty when we had to lie down to rest 

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for a while. Unfortunately we chose a 
spot just beside the road. Masters had 
just gotten off to sleep and I guess I was 
pretty well on the way, too, when a dog ran 
up to us and started to bark. In a naoment 
I sighted a flashlight coming along the 
road at a good rate. For a few minutes 
at least we forgot we were tired. By the 
time I got Masters awake that dog was at 
us and the light was mighty dose. We 
sprinted up the road, however, and after 
a little got away, though whoever the chap 
with the light was, he did his best, for he 
fired twice, one of the bullets zipping past 
the side of my head. 

That was good for the nerves, all right. 

Then a little farther along we got into 
the outskirts of a little town before we knew 
it and got mixed up in the wire fences in 
some of the back yards. It was beastly 
dark, and awfully hard to get arotmd. 
Gosh, how those fences did creak. We 
were afraid of dogs but there didn't seem 
to be a dog left in that town. They'd gone 
the way of most of the others, I guess. 

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We got into pretty good cover that day 
and were fairly comfortable except that we 
had nothing to eat and mighty little to 
drink. You see, all this was in a thickly 
settled coimtry and we didn't dare to do 
much scouting for either food or water for 
fear we would run into something worse 
than hunger or thirst. Heaven knows we 
had had enough of that to be able to put 
up with both for a bit when the chances of 
getting away from it all seemed so good. 

The next night we knew we were getting 
pretty near the border but along about 
one o'clock we hit a railroad that wasn't 
marked on the map, or hit it before we ex- 
pected to, and it threw us out of reckoning. 
While we were standing there trying to figure 
it out a brightly lighted passenger train 
went by. There was no help for it though. 
We were lost. By this time I was stag- 
gering and while my mind seemed all right 
I wouldn't wonder if it wandered a little. 
Anyway we kept driving so near as we 
knew west. Good thing we did just then, 
too. After we followed the road a mile 

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or so we saw what looked like a big milk 
can at a farmer's gate. There was a dog 
there which kept running at us, but there 
was some cover near by and we were ready 
to take a chance for a good drink of milk. 
We each kept the dog oflf while the other 
drank. Gee, but that milk was good. I'll 
bet we each got away with two quarts. 
And it seemed to put new life into us. 

A little farther we hit a cross road which 
looked familiar, somehow, and looking along 
it we saw the lights of a town. We didn't 
want to hit that town, but that was the 
only way we could think of to learn our 
whereabouts — to find out what town that 
was. So we followed back along the road un- 
til we came to the railway station, just off 
the road. Then it all came to me. This 
was Sudlohn, where the German guards 
had brought me after the last attempt to 
escape. 

This suited me all right, for I had been 
planning to hit the border about the same 
spot as before because I knew something 
about conditions there. So we went south 

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to Weseke, the town I had hit with old 
Nick. This was only two miles from Hol- 
land but as we were pretty well all in and 
it was well on in the morning, we decided 
to make another day of it and to take no 
chances. We got fair cover here and spent 
not too bad a day, though when the sim 
came up we found we were only a himdred 
yards from the road. However, that was as 
good as a mile if we weren't seen. So we lay 
low. We did get alittle ' 'windy" when some 
people came up to work and cut through 
the next field so near we could have thrown 
a stone into them. 

That didn't figure much, when we saw 
where they were making for. When you 
have narrow escapes half a dozen times a 
day and night for a week, a little thing like 
that doesn't cotmt for much. 

We were taking no chances from there 
on, however, and after we started out at 
about nine o'clock, fairly crawled. Half a 
dozen times patrols on bicycles and ci- 
vilians, walking and driving, passed us, but 
we were in the ditch, lying like logs, and 

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no suspicion was aroused. Our nerves 
were stretched some when we had to cross 
a bridge to avoid two creeks. Ordinarily 
we would have swum or waded them but 
by this time simply hadn't the stamina ne- 
cessary to do it. And finally, crawling on 
our hands and knees to avoid the patrols, and 
with every sense tense, we came to the sign- 
post which had misled Nick and I three 
months before. This was a fearsome spot. 
It gave me the creeps. So we crawled oflF 
the road and over into a plowed field. 

While back at the mine the last time I 
had happened to get in touch with a sentry 
who had been on this border patrol work, 
a stolid sort of chap, who never dreamed, I 
guess, that I would ever be able to make 
use of what he told me. He had explained 
that there were three lines of sentries at 
certain intervals and gave me other informa- 
tion as to the movements of the sentries. 
This stuff came in valuable now. We kept 
on crawling like caterpillars, swearing 
tmder our breaths when a stick or a stone 
hurt our knees, till we got to what was the 

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border, which jtist here was fixed up like a 
side road. A sentry was walking up and 
down on his beat and by certain of the 
description I felt pretty certain this was the 
last line. 

We waited till his back was turned and 
then scooted over like a pair of scared 
rabbits. 

Even yet, remembering my previous 
experience, I didn't propose to take any 
chances and so we kept on going through 
the fields till it began to get light and 
then struck back to the road. 

The first thing we saw, when we stood 
up on the roadside in the semi-darkness, 
was something white which looked like a 
sheet stretched across the road. I thought 
at first it was a screen on the frontier and 
was afraid we were in wrong again. After 
a minute, however, we saw the thing was 
moving. That "screen" turned out to be 
— ^what do you suppose? Three people. 
Two girls, dressed in white, and a man. 

When they came up I asked the chap 
for matches. Prom the look of them I 

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was pretty sure they were not Germans. 
When he spoke civilly in reply I asked him 
if we were in Holland. It was hard to make 
him imderstand, but finally when I pointed 
to the groimd and queried "Holland?" he 
said, readily, "Jah! Jah!'' 

Say, I don't know what those people 
thought, for I don't think I ever jtmiped so 
high in my life as I did just then. It took 
the tiredness away for the moment like 
a shot to know that at last we had accom- 
plished our purpose and were at last free 
from the jaws of Hunland. Those girls 
weren't a patch on some I know in Canada 
but I never felt so much like stealing a kiss 
in my life as I did just then. However, I re- 
membered what kind of a looking specimen I 
must be and tried to hang onto myself. 

The chap with them was rather a good 
head. When he imderstood who we were 
he became quite enthusiastic, — ^it was easy 
to see where his sympathies lay — ^and took 
us back to a Dutch sentry. We were taken 
to the headquarters, questioned in the same 
way as Fred, and then taken back to Win- 

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terswick. And there we got another meal 
I remember well — two big slices of bread 
and a big hunk of headcheese. I'll believe 
anybody who tells me that the Dutch are 
good cooks, all right. That was certainly 
great headcheese. 

Prom Winterswick we were sent down 
to Didam to the qxiarantine station where 
Pred had been and there we spent just eleven 
days. I did my share with the canteen 
there, too, as you may imagine. 

Three days after we lit in there we got 
a surprise, however, for one morning in 
walked Blacklock, Howitt, and Toby Boyd. 
They had escaped from the Auguste Victo- 
ria camp from that same barred window 
three days after we did, and had made 
pretty good time, right along. Was there 
a jollification ? Well, I should say ! All 
that bothered me then was that old Nick 
wasn't there. Oh no, nobody could get 
out of Germany! There must have been 
some fimny happenings among those bor- 
der patrols when the word was sent back 
about us getting over. 

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Prom Didam we went in due time to 
Rotterdam where we spent four days as 
the guests of the British embassy. Here 
we were given some civilian clothes and a 
passport and began to feel like honest citi- 
zens again, Por nearly two years, you 
see, we had been regarded as scum, and 
while we tried to hold up our end as best 
we knew there was always a mighty nasty 
feeling in knowing that we were prisoners 
and practically at the mercy of the Huns. 



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CHAPTER IX 

BLIGHTY AT LAST 

Jack Evans still speaks: 

In due time we travelled back to Old 
England on a small passenger steamer, part 
of a convoy, with an escort of sixteen or 
eighteen torpedo boats, which picked us 
up not far out of the harbor. It was a 
mighty pretty sight and an assuring one, 
too, to see those speedy little boats, in 
regular formation, hover aroimd our own 
and the freight steamers like a hive of 
bees. 

On landing, we were handed over to the 
Imperial authorities and sent to Wellington 
Barracks, London. 

A week off and on was spent at the War 
Office, being interviewed by officials in va- 
rious departments, with a view to getting 

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all available information as to German 
conditions. Nattirally we were somewhat 
enthusiastic when in the Canadian Red 
Cross Headqxiarters we were able to tell 
Lady Bulkeley how welcome and necessary 
the parcels sent us had been. 

One of the surprises in London was the 
small amotmt of damage done by the Zepp. 
raids. From what had been told us pretty 
jubilantly by the Germans, we were pre- 
pared to find the city more or less a mass 
of ruins. Their people certainly believe 
that things are prettj'' bad in England. 
When we travelled round for two or three 
days without seeing any signs of damage 
we began to conclude that the reports had 
been somewhat exaggerated. 

Leaving London we went up to Canadian 
headquarters at Buxton and made a wel- 
come visit to the paymaster. He was 
rather surprised when I produced my 
original pay book, which I had somehow or 
other been able to bring through everything 
with me. Once or twice it had been hidden 
in rather queer places when I expected to 

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be examined but I managed to hang on to 
it in spite of everything. 

Shomdiffe, for ten days' leave, was the 
next event and part of this time I spent at 
Gravesend visiting. While here on the 
street one morning I ran across Blacklock, 
Howitt, and Boyd, who had come over on a 
different boat and an hour or so after I 
ran up against a familiar face. It was Fred. 

''Why, hullo," I said. ''What are you 
doing here? Been wounded? You're look- 
ing mighty thin.'* 

"What are you doing yourself?" he said. 

And not till we began to talk it over 
then did we know but that the other had 
been back in the trenches all the time. 
Peculiar how things work out, isn't it? 

Fred had a rather funny little experience 
on landing in England, which somehow or 
other he doesn't like to tell. So I'll do it 
for him. 

We landed at Harwich while the boat 
he was on came in at Gravesend. When 
he reported at the dock ofl&ces and was 
getting through the long run of red tape 

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which ©srerybody has to put up with, 
they doubted his story. He showed them 
his passport and a photo he had taken at 
Rotterdam, but the ofl&cial said: "That 
doesn't look like you/* and for a while 
wouldn't let him by. 

Do you see what it means? The poor 
beggar had been so starved while in Ger- 
many that when he did get a little food 
into him for even a few days, the change 
was so great that they didn't recognize him, 
I tell Fred he must have laid in mighty 
hearty coming over on the boat. 

We looked pretty bad, all right, I guess. 
Coming down on the train to London after 
I first landed I got into conversation with 
an Englishman, who on leaving me shook 
hands and left two half crown pieces in my 
hand. When I looked a little surprised, 
he said: ''Have a good feed on me. You 
need it." 

From the photograph of the bunch of 
us taken in London just at that time you 
can get an idea how we did look. That 
photo was rather unique, too. It was 

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BLIGHTY AT LAST 

taken at the suggestion of Colonel Gordon, 
our old O.C. of the 4th C. M. R., who was 
then Officer Commanding the 8th Reserve 
Depot Mounted Rifles in England. There 
were five of us in London then, from the 
one Canadian battalion, all of whom had 
escaped within a month of one another. 

I guess that was something of a record. 
The London papers made a good deal of 
it at the time, anjrway . And the statement 
was made then that the Canadians hold 
the record for escapes. Well, at the rate 
they came into Didam while we were there, 
it didn't look as if there would be many of 
us left in Germany very long. 

After a short ftirlough at Manchester, 
where, by the way, we heard about the 
Halifax disaster, we were put through the 
Canadian discharge depot and arrangements 
were made for our passage back to Canada. 
This was made on the Justicia, with about 
twelve htmdred other returning men and 
some four hundred Canadian women. 

The Justicia, for reasons which were not 
altogether clear, landed at New York. 



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After we had disembarked they kept the 
crowd waiting in an immigration shed or 
something like it on the docks. We got 
tired of this and, never having been in the 
big town before, wanted a chance to look 
around before getting back to Canada, 
Looking arotmd we saw a little stairway at 
the rear and I said to Fred: 

"I guess when we got out of Germany 
we ought to stand a chance of getting out 
of here. Let's make a try for it." Fred 
was game so we took a chance on that 
stairway. 

It took us up three or four flights and 
up against a guard in Uncle Sam's uniform. 
He was a good-natured chap, I guess, for 
we got past him without very much trouble, 
and in a few minutes were in a taxi shoot- 
ing down Broadway. Say, can you ima- 
gine it. A few weeks before working as 
despised schweinhund prisoners in a black 
hole in Central Germany. Now in our 
own motor and free as air riding down 
the street everybody wants to see sometime. 

And we surely had a time in New York. 

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Early that evening we were sitting in a 
Broadway restattrant wondering how we 
were going to scrape up enough between us 
to pay the bill, not to speak of getting a place 
to sleep for the night, when a pleasant, 
nicely dressed chap came over and said: 
''Are you Canadian soldiers?" 
When he heard even a little of our story 
nothing was too good for us. The bill was 
soon paid, and going further, he suggested 
that he would like to make up a little party 
for us. He told us to go to another address 
and to ask for his table. Said that he would 
be along a little later with his wife and a 
few friends. 

The place turned out to be Rector's and 
in due time the party developed all right as 
per promise. Say, we really felt we were 
heroes that night. Nothing was too good 
for us. We ate till we were ready to bust 
— ^anything that was on the menu. Indeed 
our friend helped a good deal in the picking. 
Somehow or other our story got aroimd the 
place. The orchestra started to play British 
airs, the dancers seemed to dance especially 

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for us, and altogether we stirely had one 
bully time. Our friend naturally looked 
after putting us up at a hotel for the night 
as well. 

Next morning, when we came to take 
stock, we found ourselves nearly broke and 
with no way to get home in sight. We 
tried several schemes but finally reported 
to the British authorities and were sent 
home to good old Toronto specially and in 
Pullman berths, too. Some change that, 
after riding in 'those overcrowded cattle 
cars in Hxmland. 

And so, all the trouble was over. 



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CHAPTER X 

AS TO GENERAL CONDITIONS 

Most people think a good deal of war 
work is being done in Canada and the 
United States. Say, if they knew condi- 
tions as we saw them in Germany they would 
think a mighty sight less of it. 

What would we think, for instance, if 
not only every man who was at all fit was 
forced to go to fight, but if every woman was 
forced to put herself tmder close registra- 
tion and to work wherever and at whatever 
job the authorities saw fit? What would 
we think if not only the children in their 
teens but also the little tots of ten and 
eleven were forced into war work and, 
entirely aside from any direction by their 
parents, were put at labor which we would 
consider much beyond them and in hours 

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which the men of our laboring class would 
not stand at all? 

And yet we saw all this happening right 
around us in Germany. 

Here we are making a big fuss when 
women break into a few unusual and light 
occupations. Over there we saw women 
working at practically everything. They 
were in the fields in every section of the 
country and seemed to be mixed up in 
every form of farm work — looking after 
the cattle and horses, ploughing, harvest- 
ing, threshing, doing distasteful work which 
even our men here don't like to do. And 
they did it. There was mighty little fuss- 
ing about it or specially favorable condi- 
tions made for them. It is the work of the 
women in the fields and on the farms 
which has kept Germany alive till this 
time. 

We saw women conductors, brakemen, 
and engineers on the railways. And per- 
fectly efl&cient they seemed to be. It was 
a common sight, not an tmusual one. And 
even in the heaviest class of labor the 

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women seemed to be doing a large share. 
At a large glass works at Annan, for in- 
stance, we saw a number of women wheeling 
huge barrowloads of coke and cinders. 
And at the August- Victoria mine women 
were employed entirely in the removal of 
the cars of coal from the mine head. It 
was a shame to watch them, some of them 
delicate girls, pushing these heavy cars, 
work which must have been away beyond 
their strength. 

Remember, too, that this was not done 
of their own accord, or in any patriotic 
spirit. While we did not get a chance to 
talk to any of the women themselves we did 
talk with the civilians about them. They 
told us, qmte as though it were a usual 
matter, how these women and girls, some 
of them mere yotmgsters, had been brought 
from their homes at government direction 
and were forced to do this kind of work. 

Couldn't they strike or refuse to do it? 
Yes, they could and did occasionally at 
first, so we were told. But that's all the 
good it did them. You see, at that time, 

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as no doubt it is now, it was necessary to 
have cards to get not only food but also 
clothing and other necessaries and the old 
injunction that if a man won't work neither 
shall he eat was applied practically to the 
women in this case. The thing was very 
simple. If they didn't do the work as 
they were ordered, and a fair amotmt of it 
at that, they got no cards. 

And if you will imagine the worst social 
conditions which might apply in such a 
state of affairs you will about hit what 
prevailed among these women. Some of 
them had come from good homes and were 
more or less ctilttired. Others were from 
anything but that class. They were forced 
to live more or less closely together tmder 
regulations similar to that existing in mili- 
tary camps and in the light of the pittance 
of pay they received, over and above their 
living, it is not surprising that anything 
but ideal conditions prevailed. What this 
sort of thing is going to mean to the Ger- 
many of to-morrow one can only conjecture. 

What would we think, again, if we saw 

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sqtiads of our boys and girls from twelve 
to sixteen years old being marched down 
the streets of otir towns and villages to the 
railroad stations to be taken away for war 
work? 

Yet we saw this thing not once but fre- 
quently when we were on farm work out- 
side the prison camps. These kiddies, as 
they actually were, were drafted, just as our 
young men are, and without any direction 
or choice on the part of the parents, were 
taken off to some adjacent section, to work 
in the harvest or in some industrial concern, 
where their hours, their meals, and their 
whole lives were regulated to the last notch. 

One little chap, Rudolph, was taken from 
the home of one of the farms we were on. 
He was only eleven and small for his age, 
but that apparently made no difference. 
He cried very hard when the time came to 
go and had to be pulled away from his 
people by force. He was away for six 
weeks at a stretch, having been taken to 
a factory in Bavaria, about a hundred miles 
from home. We saw him once when he 

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was home for a day or two and the poor 
little beggar looked nearly dead. He was 
given no pay, but worked and stiflfered, as no 
doubt he did very deeply, for his keep alone. 
And pretty poor keep it must have been. 
At that time his family were subsisting 
chiefly on turnips and mangels. What 
these children got away from home it is 
hard to guess. Certainly, judging from 
this little fellow's appearance, it was any- 
thing but notuishing. 

What would we think, again, if otir town 
schools were closed for several days at a 
time during the harvest season and our 
children were forced to go out in a body 
to work at gleaning following the harvesting 
machinery? Many times we saw identi- 
cally this happen in the province of Hess- 
Nassau, where we were workings A large 
fanner in the district would apply for the 
help of the children and apparently there 
were regulations empowering him to enforce 
his demand. The school was closed and 
four or five htmdred children given over to 
his control for the day. It almost broke 

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our hearts two or three times, to see the 
line of kiddies, from eight to ten years old, 
both girls and boys, plodding heartlessly 
and stolidly up the field, with the farmer 
behind them, prodding them on. Occa- 
sionally one would fall behind and in most 
cases the treatment he would receive would 
be anything but gentle. These children 
worked from dawn till dark and kept at it 
in a way few of our children would be able 
to stand. The only period which might 
be called a rest was at noon when they got 
from fifteen minutes to half an hotir to 
eat what little Itmch they brought with 
them. 

Our children would have been laughing 
or crying tmder such treatment. All the 
laughter seemed to be regulated or ham- 
mered out of these children. They did 
what they had to stolidly, just as though 
they knew they had to and there was no 
help for it. There was no spirit of fun or 
mischief evident as there would be among 
our children in similar circumstances. And 
as we see it, it must be this spirit of stolidity 

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and subservience to regulations which is 
keeping Germany where she is to-day. 

Of course there was a reward for this 
work. In money or gifts? No. If the 
children of one school did particularly well 
their school would be given a distinguishing 
mark and listed with special honor. 

We don't suppose these conditions existed 
to the same extent in the cities or among 
the wealthier classes. We were told that 
the private schools were exempt from it. 

Oh, it's the peasant and the laboring 
class that is bearing the larger share of the 
burden, all right. The civilians used to 
say that if you had money you could get 
along in Germany all right. And they told 
us repeated stories of graft in various forms. 
For instance, we saw at a railway station 
one day a yoxmg chap in civilian clothes 
who looked fit and well — a sight so un- 
usual that it provoked comment. When 
we asked a guard about it he shrugged his 
shoulders and explained that that young 
man was well known all over that section 
as having been bought out of service by a 

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rich father. How much the generous- 
hearted dad may have had to put up for 
the sake of safety for his son's skin may be 
judged from the story told us by a sentry 
we got fairly close to in Friedrichsfeld camp. 
This chap had gone to the States when a boy, 
had piled up a small fortune and had come 
back to Germany to live just a year or two 
before the war. When the call came to his 
class he was naturally not as enthusiastic 
about the future of the Fatherland as some 
of the others and in consequence made 
arrangements to purchase his exemption. 
He paid about a fifth of his fortune and 
rested in fancied security for six months 
when another call came and it appeared 
that his exemption had only been tempo- 
rary. Again he tried the same scheme, 
with the same result. In the end he was 
drafted, forced to leave his wife and two 
children with practically nothing more than 
the common soldier's allowance and was 
serving as a guard and receiving training 
under the not particularly pleasant treat- 
ment of the German non-coms. This man 

[237] 



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OUT OP HUNLAND 

expected to be sent to the Western front 
shortly. It is altogether likely he has been 
in the recent mass attacks in France. The 
allowance which was made to his wife 
and family was twenty marks per month 
with an addition of two or three marks for 
the children. This would amount to not 
more than six dollars all told. When he 
tried to work this out to buy food, with 
beef at four-fifty per pound (when it could 
be gotten) and other things in proportion, 
the outlook was not very cheering. Jiminy, 
how this chap used to curse the Kaiser and 
the whole German system — ^when none 
but us could hear him. He realized then 
what a fool he had been to leave the United 
States and that the Fatherland, much 
boasted of, was not the Fatherland he had 
carried in his memory. 

One old farmer we talked to one day told 
a pitiful story illustrating rather typically 
the general situation among the German 
agricultural classes. 

"Before the war," he said, when we 
asked him how things were going, "I had 

[238] 



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AS TO GENERAL CONDITIONS 

five pigs, a couple of cows, lots of money 
and five splendid sons. Now," with a 
facial expression which carried even more 
than his words. ''Now I have neither 
hogs, cows, sons nor money. The govern- 
ment has taken them all." 

His five sons had been killed, one after 
another, two on the Russian and three on 
the Western front. Here he was, in his 
old age, when he had been depending on 
his sons, and failing that his savings, for 
the future, trying to eke out an existence 
with two miserable-looking goats. 

Why do the people stand it, you ask? 
Will there be a revolution? 

Well, with all due regard to what Ambas- 
sador Gerard says — and we don't profess 
to know much about political conditions 
in general and base our opinions entirely 
on what we saw and on what we learned 
from our conversations with the soldiers 
and civilians — ^it's a very discussable matter. 

That the German people generally are 
disgtisted with the war and have lost hope 
of any great and ultimate victory there is 

[239I 



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OUT OP HUNLAND 

no doubt. That was the spirit, at least, 
when we were among them. Whether the 
Kaiser and Hindenburg have been able to 
give them any new hope in the recent move- 
ments in France is also a query. They 
were hoping, when we were there, for a 
speedy peace, with such indemnities as 
their captture of territory might win for 
them. Some of them looked hopefully to 
such indemnities for a lowering of bturden- 
some taxation. While some suspicion that 
the newspapers were not giving them the 
truth was seeping in then, they had been 
fed so systematically and continuously with 
news favorable to Germany that it was 
difficult for other than favorable opinions 
to find lodgment. For instance, when we 
found a man who was willing to talk at all 
freely about conditions and would ask him 
to account for the atrocities in France and 
Belgium, he would, although ready to 
damn the Kaiser and the military system 
in general, protest the facts of the stories 
we told him, some of which we knew by 
personal experience to be true. Occasion- 

[ 240 1 



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AS TO GENERAL CONDITIONS 

ally we got hold of the German local papers 
and could read enough to see how things 
were going. Usually there was point blank 
denial of atrocities by the Germans and on 
the other hand stories of alleged terrors on 
the part of the French and English, particu- 
larly as to their treatment of prisoners. 

We knew from what we had seen in 
Prance that these were absolutely absurd 
but of course it was out of the question to 
make the Germans believe that. 

The thing which seemed to astonish them 
most was that we had come from America 
and had volunteered to get into the war. 
It was mighty hard to make clear to them 
just why we had gotten into it and harder 
still to convince them that we had not 
been conscripted. From their point of 
view we were fools of the worst possible 
variety to get into a thing like war when we 
didn't actually have to. 

On the other hand it was hard for us to 
understand how, with the freely-expressed 
disgtist at the conditions in the Empire 
and particularly with the dominance of the 



16 



[241] 



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OUT OP HUNLAND 

military clique, these people still main- 
tained their ideal of the Fatherland. While 
they hate William, chiefly because they be- 
lieve he was largely responsible for the war, 
they still maintain their faith in the Kaiser. 
It is a peculiar continuance of the old-time 
Divine Right of ICings idea which will be 
very hard to dislodge in Germany. 

Even so, the feeling is so strong and the 
suffering so intense as a result of the war 
that it looks as if the whole country would 
go up like tinder, if— resolute leaders would 
crop up. There was talk of revolution, 
considerable of it, while we were there, but 
that's all it amounted to. The figures 
who display any initiative seem either to 
be with the Government, which means the 
military party, or to be dominated and 
bound down by it. 

We read a good deal about the low 
morale of the German soldiery. The same 
thing is true among the civilians and has 
resulted, to a large extent, it would seem, 
from the universal military system. A 
corporal in the German army has the same 

[242I 



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AS TO GENERAL CONDITIONS 

authority over the privates that one of our 
lieutenants has, A good deal more in 
practice. And the brutal, domineering 
spirit is carried to the limit. The same 
thing is carried out to a greater degree as 
the ranks advance. We have seen a cor- 
poral on the parade ground at Friedrichs- 
feld repeatedly kick a private or hammer 
him over the head with his rifle. This 
seemed to be taken as a matter of coturse 
and no comment was made. Fancy any 
Canadian or American soldier taking treat- 
ment like that under any consideration. 
So it goes on. The corporal btillies the 
private. The sergeant takes it out of the 
corporal. The sergeant-major gets after 
the sergeant. And the lieutenants and 
higher officers treat the common soldiers 
like dogs. Everyman's hand is out against 
the man below him. And he knows he can 
get away with about anything in that line 
he wants to. 

With universal military service in opera- 
tion for generations this sort of thing was 
bound to have a mighty strong result on 

[243I 



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OUT OP HXJNLAND 

the character of the people generally and 
it seems that this, as much as anything 
else, has ground the initiative out of the 
German character. 

Apparently it has also ground something 
else out — or in. We don't believe there's 
a Gemaan, that is, a real German-German 
but can be bribed to do anything — ^if the 
stake is big enough. Look at the guards 
who repeatedly committed treason by sell- 
ing us maps and compasses for a morsel of 
soap. Look again at the information we 
got as to the location of the sentries on the 
Border. In some ways they were ready to 
suffer a good deal for the Fatherland but 
there were mighty few of them who couldn't 
be won over to do anything, with the proper 
bribe. This is reflected again in the opera- 
tions of the German agents all over the 
world. 

This whole matter was well illustrated in 
incidents which came under our attention. 
Off and on while we were there we heard 
rumors of possible strikes among the civili- 
ans in the August- Victoria mine. Once 

[244I 



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AS TO GENERAL CONDITIONS 

five or six hundred of them got together 
and went out for half a day. What hap- 
pened? Most of them got cold feet and 
went back to work next day and the whole 
thing fell through. The day following a 
''Verboten" sign, bearing Hindenburg's 
picture, appeared, forbidding, under heavy 
penalty, the gathering together of more 
than four men at once in any one spot. It 
seemed to do the work admirably for 
matters settled down immediately. 

At another time, when we were on a farm 
not far from Essen, we heard how a strike, 
which threatened to be troublesome, was 
handled at the great Krupp works. Here 
five or six thousand went out on a food 
strike and the situation looked serious since 
it threatened to spread through the whole 
works. It didn't last long, however. The 
officials of the plant got busy and the day 
following Kaiser William appeared on the 
scene. He talked to those men in groups, 
appealing to them, from a patriotic stand- 
point, to go back to work and put up as 
best they could with conditions. It's likely 

[2451 



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OUT OP HUNLAND 

he promised them a good many things in 
addition which he hadn't any intention of 
carrying out. In any event the strike 
melted down like butter on a hot stove and 
three hours from the time of his arrival the 
men were all back at work and the trouble 
over, for the time being, at least. 

And so it goes on. When anybody asks 
us when we think the war is going to end 
in the light of what we saw in Germany we 
have to give them a sort of review of what 
we have told here. So long as the army 
is fed and the people can struggle along 
with enough to keep body and soul together 
— ^unless conditions change suddenly and 
unless some leader arises who can gather 
round him a body of determined, fearless 
supporters, as Danton and Robespierre 
did in the seventeen-nineties, it looks as 
though the German people would continue 
to put up with their burden indefinitely. 
They had given up hope of winning the 
war, in any victoriotis fashion. That was 
very generally evident before we left. And 
the expectations regarding the outcome 

[246] 



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AS TO GENERAL CONDITIONS 

changed very greatly while we were among 
them. When we were first able to talk 
about it with them, for instance, it was only 
a matter of time until a victorious end was 
to come. As the months went by we 
could see a change in this expectation mak- 
ing itself gradually evident. Perhaps the 
entry of the United States into the struggle 
had as much to do with this as anything. 
They wouldn't believe it at all, at first, but 
this was one bit of real news their papers 
did give them and finally the realization 
of what it might mean began to get into 
their heads. 

As matters stood when we left most of the 
people we talked with, even the soldiers, 
expected that matters would end upon a 
fifty-fifty basis. Most of them didn't care 
what the basis was so long as the end came 
soon. They were sick — ^mentally, physically, 
and in spirit, of the whole terrible btisiness 
and were longing in a way that we who 
have suffered so much less can scarcely 
tmderstand, for the end. 

What the future may hold for Germany 

[247I 



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OUT OF HUNLAND 

it is very hard to say. We do know one 
thing, however, and that is that the na- 
tional character will have to change mightily 
before there can be any lasting brightness 
or happiness for her people. 



[248] 



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A Selection from the 
CateUogue of 

C P. PUTNAM'S SONS 



ott appUotttloa 



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FffiST CALL 

BT 

ARTHUR GUY EMPEY 



GUIDE 
POSTS 

TO 

BERLIN 



Author of '*OVER THE TOP'' 

12^. Illustrated. $1.50 (By mail, $1.65) 

In flie amazingty ^ivid and simpto way tiiat 
has made Over the Top the most widely read 
and talked of book in America, and the most 
successful war book in all history, Bmpqr teUs 
the new soldiers 

What they want to know 
What they ought to know 
What theyTl have to know 

and what their parents, sweethearts, wives, and 
all Americans, will want to know, and can do to 
help. 

A practical book by an American who has 
been throus^ it all* 

The chapters headed ** Smokes '' and ** Thank 
God the Stretcher Bearers'' will stand among 
the war classics* 

Here is advice, here are suggestions, over- 
looked in other books, that will safeguard our 
boys in France. 

• G- P- PUTNAM'S SONS 
New York London 



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BY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER WHO WENT 

ARTHUR GUY EMPEY 

machhis ouHHXs. SBRvnro in frah cb 

J§UTHOM OF 

''FIRST CALL" 

For a year and a half, until he 
fell wounded in No Man's Land, this 
American soldier saw more actual 
fighting and real warfare than any war 
correspondent who has written about 
the war. His experiences are grim, 
but they are thrilling and lightened by 
a touch of humor as original as the 
Soldiers Three. And they are true> 

iT. 16 JXhtsbmtions and DUgrttmM* S150 net 
Br mail $U5 

TOGETHER WITH TOMMY'S DICTIONARY OF THE 
TRENCHES 

''Over The Top with the Best of 

Luck and Give Them Hell I" 

The BMah SoUSer^t Wat Cry, aa be goea orer the 
top of the trench to the charge 



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12 



When the Prussians 
Came to Poland 

By 
Mme. Laura de Turczjrnowicz 

Marquite dm GobcUwa 

^ Illustrated. S1.50 net. By maili Sx.6j 

The story of an American woman, the wife 
of a Polish noble, caught in her home by the 
floodtide of the German invasion of the ancient 
kingdom of Poland. 

A. straightforward narrative, terribly real, of 
her experiences in the heart of the eastern 
war-zone, of her struggle with the extreme 
conditions, of her Red Cross work, of her 
fight for the lives of her children and herself 
against the dread Typhus, and at last, of her 
release and journey through Germany and 
Holland to this country. How truly she was 
in line of the German advance may be ap- 
preciated from the fact that Field Marshal 
von Hindenburg for some days made his 
headquarters under her roof. 



G. P. Putnam's Sons 

New York London 



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A 

"Temporary Gentleman" 

in Prance 

Home Letters from an Officer at the Front 
Introductory Chapters by 

Capt. A. J. Dawson 

Border R«ffiai«iit 

/^•. $i.so net. By maU, $1.6$ 

FVank, tnuiudied letten written from the fnHit by a r^- 
mental officer who^ prior to the war, waf a derk in a sub- 
urban office somewhere in Blighty. It should appeal strongly 
to all men in training camps, toaU meniiable to be called up, to 
their parents and rdatives, as an absolutely real and docu- 
mentary record of actual experience in the war of one who, 
like thanselves* had never had a thought before of military 
service. 

The du^>ters provide an interesting and representative series 
of experiences: The First Letter; The First March; The 
Tale of a Tub; The Trenches at Last; A DisserUtion on 
Mud; Taking Over on a Quiet Ni|^t; ''What It's Like*'; 
The Dug-Out; A Bombing Show; Over the Parapet; The 
Night Patrol; In Billets; Bombardment; The Day's Work; 
Tommy Dodd and Trench Routine; Stalking Snipers; 
An Artful Stunt; The Spirit of the Men; The Unhealthy 
Bit of Line; They Say—; The New Front Line; A Great 
Night's Work; The Coming Push; Front Line to Hospital; 
The Push and After; Blighty. 

CL p. Putnam's Sons 

New York London 



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